Art, Artist

Prepping Doesn’t Always Mean You’re Prepared


Eliza Harvey

The Yards Collective Studio Renter & Studio Assistant

Long Story Short, I’m Stumped

I didn’t realize it while it was happening, but as I was graduating college, I was losing a structured, systematic ally that was driving my flow of artwork. Transitioning between phases in your life is always something that can be difficult to adapt to, but never did I think that once I got my art degree, I wouldn’t know how to make art anymore.

With the safety net of class sessions, deadlines, and professors gone, I was suddenly thrust into a world of independence where I needed to be my own driving force. That’s really not an easy thing to do! (For me, anyway). So, with the world of art at my fingertips and brand new surroundings, I needed to make a plan.

I couldn’t.


Support Systems: They’re Important!

I didn’t jump into nothingness, however. Immediately after graduating, I began an internship with The Yards Collective, a space for community, art, and growth. Inserting myself into this new world of art as a studio and gallery assistant, I was sure that my creative juices would keep flowing and I could churn out more art and projects, just like in school.

I had the community, I was surrounded by the art, but I wasn’t feeling any type of growth. For a few months I tried to struggle with a printmaking series that I started in my last semester of school, but it wasn’t inspiring me. When the art becomes a chore, my work ethic shuts down and I become my own creative enemy.

So I turned to my peers. I was surrounded by artists and I wasn’t utilizing it. Conveniently, my studio mate Reb, was also in a creative slump. After multiple hours-long sessions of voicing our woes, relenting in our environment, and rationalizing our struggles, we decided that the only thing to remedy our problems was direct and immediate action. We made mind maps, lists, and sketches. We wrote things down until they materialized into media. We worked with media until it became tangible, and we tweaked our ideas until we were satisfied.

In the studio with Reb

In the studio with Reb

Remedies For The Creative Blues

What I’m here to share with you, other than a lot of complaining and roundabout problem solving, are my own tactics that I use when I’m really struggling to make something new that I am personally happy with and inspired by.

  1. Look at your surroundings. Think about why you are in the setting that you are in, and use it to your advantage.

  2. Talk it out. Everyone around you thinks in a manner different from your own, and new perspectives can be beneficial to how you see your own Ideas. Also, it can be helpful just to hear yourself out loud and really consider your thoughts.

  3. Read. This one might be the most important to my practice. There are a lot of talented and intelligent people out there who have unlocked all of these secrets and published them in books for you to find and adapt into your practice. Find books about other artists, books written by other artists, or books that make you think about art. Seriously, get a library card. Free infinite knowledge.

  4. Mind Maps! I love these things. I was skeptical at first, but writing down my thoughts and interests and brainstorming on paper that I can reference later really helps me to organize, collect, and figure out ideas that I didn’t even know I had.

  5. Just start making stuff. Pick a medium, pick a topic, and throw something together. It doesn’t matter if it’s bad at first, you will grow. If you get sick of it, scrap it. Make something new. If you are making, you are thinking, you are learning, you are growing.

I’m not there yet, but I’m somewhere, and that’s a start. Here are some photos of the new series i’ve been working on: fiber works! I’ve never worked with this material before, but it’s what I’m excited about right now, and that’s what’s most important!

Hello down there/ hello up there   Acrylic paint & cotton floss on wood

Hello down there/ hello up there

Acrylic paint & cotton floss on wood

Bzzt   Acrylic paint & cotton floss on wood


Acrylic paint & cotton floss on wood

Don’t forget to floss   Acrylic paint & cotton floss on wood

Don’t forget to floss

Acrylic paint & cotton floss on wood

Disclaimer: I’m not a writer and I’m no expert in sentence structure. I’d like to think my grammar is decent. If you don’t like the way I write, deal with it buddy!