In this article, Sonya Dove discusses in detail how for years she has struggled to accept her creative process and how she has now come to embrace it.
“Since I was young, I have been one of those people who is more about the small details rather than the big picture. Over the years, I grew to wish I could be a person that thinks big picture, developing grand concepts, designing overarching, impactful and immense visions of style, because in my mind that is usually how great creators think. I have been hard on myself creatively for many years for not fitting into this preconceived notion of creative thinking. Anyone can give me a subject to create and I will always start with conceptualizing a lot of details and small action ideas and then I build up from there. I surround myself with like-minded colleagues and I gravitate more to people that are creative in that manner. Friends of mine and fellow artists who create shows or hair from a grandiose concept or overall vision tend to lose me in conversation and I get frustrated with myself for not getting it.
What is interesting is that while I have been doing hair for many years, it has only been during this year that I have come to realize that it is okay to focus on the little things first.
Every creative mind is unique and operates differently and this is just the way it works for me. I had to learn to accept this as a fact, embrace it and not view it as a shortcoming or challenge.
Since coming to that realization, doing hair shows on my own and having to come up with everything from the concept to the look and execution myself, it is so much a smoother task than it was before. The very notion of creativity lends itself to our own individual approaches. There is no right or wrong way to be a creative thinker. In fact, during a recent Sebastian Professional event, I heard Shay Dempsey and Michael Polsinelli share the way they come up with ideas and that is to bounce them off each other.
They start with base ideas and build up to an overall theme, build down to a more approachable concept, or even start their ideas in the middle and build out to the start and finish. That is the approach that works best for them. It’s not mine and it is not like a lot of other artists’ and that’s ok. It works for them.
The very next day after attending this event, I was considering this creative approach, which was so different from my own and was thrown back into questioning my own methods. I have a little card that I received from a friend that I pull out in times of stress to help me with direction. When I started to feel myself beginning to doubt my own approach, I pulled out the card and it was exactly what I needed in that moment. The card reads, “My success depends upon my ability to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Today, I leave my familiar little box and step into the unfamiliar bliss of the unknown, abundant universe. My life can now expand beyond my wildest dreams.”
Being a creative can be intimidating. As you advance in your career, you find yourself surrounded by like-minded and talented fellow artists. While this can be wonderful inspiration and can help you learn new ways of approaching an issue or take an idea in a direction that you hadn’t previously thought of, it can also lend itself to unrealistically comparing your skills, talents and methods to your fellow artists. It is important to remember that while you may all have the same creative outlet, your methods of expression will be completely different and that’s what makes this such a fascinating industry to be a part of.
I am currently working on a video with a fantastic videographer who is super creative and is more of a conceptual thinker. SInce coming to realize that my creative strength comes in focusing on the details of a project first and allowing those details to shape the final outcome, my conversations with him have completely changed. I do not leave my meetings with him now feeling lost and frustrated. We each have our own approach, and by focusing on the methods that we each feel comfortable using and combining them into a final vision, I am trusting the outcome will be right, which in my heart of hearts I know that it will be.”