When you’re stuck in a creative rut, where do you like to go? What floats your creative boat? Do you hang out at Starbucks? Do you go for a walk around the block? What about visiting the gym, or visiting a friend?
When I’m stuck in a creative rut, one of my favorite places to visit is an electronics surplus store! Yes, I know this is an unusual place for an artist to visit, but it works for me – every time!
Picture this! This hole-in-the-wall surplus store is tucked into a side street less than half-a-mile from the interstate. The only identifying feature of the store is an iconic red rocket mounted onto the side of the building facing the street.
What a red rocket has to do with surplus electronics, beats me! Anyway, they buy all these surplus electronics parts and “other” surplus items from a multitude of companies.
When I’m stuck in a creative rut I always enter the store with an air of anticipation as to what I might find, because I never know what I’m actually looking at!
Last week, in a creative “funk” because my disparate shapes and colors were’t “blending” the way I wanted them to blend, I went to “Skycraft” with an open mind, which is the only way you should visit!
One of the first things that jumped out at me, was this silver metal grid system laying on its side as I came in the front door. I looked at the grid and thought, “Wow! This would make the coolest table ever! I’d need to add a piece of glass on top of the grid, but this is incredibly cool and industrial looking.” Upon further inspection, I realized I was looking at a grid system from an overhead lighting fixture! I’m not used to seeing the fixture torn apart sitting on the floor, so my brain identified it as the perfect table top – not the perfect light fixture!
This is what visiting an electronics surplus store does for my brain – it makes me see ordinary items in a completely new light!
I also found some pretty cool chrome “feet” for the shelving unit I’m putting together. As I’m looking at these “feet,” I can’t for the life of me think what the real purpose for these chrome items might be, but I know for a fact they will work for me!
That’s the completely amazing thing about this place! Since I don’t have any idea what I’m actually looking at, I can envision all kinds of uses! It really puts my grey cell to work! It’s a fun place that always challenges me and totally takes me out of my creative funk – every time!
When I got back to my painting and was able to look at it with “fresh eyes,” I made my blending transitions effortlessly!
So, the next time you’re stuck in a creative rut – think “surplus”!