Home Office Interior Design for More Creativity: Workspace & Studio Tips to Unlock Inspiration | Ana Marcu | Skillshare

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Home Office Interior Design for More Creativity: Workspace & Studio Tips to Unlock Inspiration

teacher avatar Ana Marcu, Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (2h 54m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Creativity

    • 3. Personalisation

    • 4. Move

    • 5. Beauty

    • 6. Open Spaces

    • 7. Take A Break

    • 8. The Florist

    • 9. The Urban Sketch Artist

    • 10. The Watercolour Artist

    • 11. The Brand Strategist

    • 12. Class Project

    • 13. Final Thoughts

    • 14. Outro

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About This Class

Design your home office or workspace to help you become more creative. Discover the latest and most distilled ideas about which space design elements are the best at supporting your creative process. 

In this class, you will learn: 

  1. how the design of our workspaces can influence your feelings, thoughts and behaviour
  2. the latest science articles show how space design helps people become more creative 
  3. clear interior design and architecture tips to help you arrange or pick a suitable workspace for you 
  4. Stories of famous creative people, their work process and what helped them get into a creative state of mind,  
  5. the strategies that other creative people from around the world and from different industries use to support their creative process. 

Who is this class for?

This class is for creative people or aspiring creative people who understand what a difference design makes on how they feel and wish to design for themselves the kind of workspace that will best support their creativity. 


Download the class supporting files here!


Special thanks to the people who agreed to be interviewed for this class!

James Richards




If not otherwise specified, photos by Pattie Richards

Cover Photo by James Richards

Henck Rolling



Leiry Seron


Photos by Leiry Seron and The Blue Bank Coworking Space @blabankinn

Elise Aabakken



Create Greg



Linda Lau


Marie Zanzal



Matthias Klepeisz


Susann Goerg



Leanne Van 




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Every month I share home design ideas that will help you live a happier, healthier and more productive life.


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Who am I?

I’m a licensed architect with over a decade of experience in Vienna, Austria. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology", and I am deeply passionate about design psychology and optimising interior design to create great emotional experiences for people. My goal is to design spaces that make people FEEL loved, happier, healthier, and more creative.

In my classes, you will find tips and strategies that will help you design a great home. You will learn how certain design decisions can influence your emotions and behaviour and what you can do to create a home that will make you feel happier and supported in your goals.

You can also check out my class, How to Think Like an Architect


Links to related classes

Home Office Interior Design: Work From Home Like A Boss

Home Interior Design For Better Habits: Self-Development By Design 

Create Memorable Home Experience: Interior Design For Moments That Matter


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Meet Your Teacher

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Ana Marcu

Home Wellbeing, Licensed architect


About me: 

I'm a licensed architect and have over a decade of experience in the design and architecture industry. I have worked as an in-house architect on various projects with a strong focus on furniture, interior design and experience design. I have a double degree in Architecture and "Building Science and Technology", and I am deeply passionate about design that generates great emotional experiences for people. I've recently started my little design studio, and I'm excited to teach you everything I've learned to help you create a great home for yourself. 


Transform your surroundings, transform your life!

Your home environment profoundly impacts your mood, thoughts, behaviour, performance, and overall well-being.

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1. Introduction : I know what you're thinking. How can interior design influence your creativity? Creativity is up here in my head, and interior design is out there all around me. How does one influence the other? Can in fact, interior design help you become more creative? Hi, my name is Ana Marcu and I'm a licensed architect living in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria. I have a double degree in Architecture and Building Science and Technology, and have worked for over a decade, is an in-house architect on various projects like private homes, office spaces, and hotels. Throughout my career the one area that I have been most passionate about and has been interior design. Because it is the one layer of the building that has the power to move us on an emotional level and when done right, it can inspire us to be the best version of ourselves. If you've seen any of my other classes, you know that one of my favourite things to talk about, is how the space around us influences how we feel, how we think, and how we behave. Which means that interior design can be used as a tool to help us achieve something: have more time, be happier, be more productive. In this class, I wish to talk about how interior design can help you become more creative. After all, if we can optimize our sleep and our diet to help us be healthier. Why not optimize our space to help us be more creative. For this class, I have gathered together the latest science articles showing what spatial and design elements help you become more creative. Stories are famous creative people, their work process and what helped them get into a creative state of mind. Interior design and architecture tips to help you arrange your workspace, as well as interviews with creatives from around the world so you can learn more about theor work and how their workspace supports their creative process. What I hope you will learn by the end of this class is that there is no cookie cutter solution to creativity. If it had been, it would be in every workspace all over the globe. But that there are certain patterns that appear among creative people. And I hope you will find enough ideas in this class that resonate with you personally, and will inspire you to create the kind of workspace that will best support your creativity. As usual, if you want to go deep into this topic, you can find all the resources of this class in the class projects and resources section. Also, if you liked this class, you should absolutely check out my other class, "Home Office Interior Design. Work From Home Like a Boss." where I go into the nitty-gritty details of planning your space, picking a table, a chair, storage, and so many more things. I hope you are excited to take this class. Are you ready? Let's start the class. 2. Creativity: Hello and welcome to the first lesson. So let's go straight in: how can interior design influence creativity? There are essentially three ideas that I want you to take away from this class. Number one is: why the the environment has an impact on us. Number two is how we process and interpret the stimuli around us. Number three is what are the necessary preconditions for creativity to take place? Let's start with the human evolution. If we think back at, let's say, the last 100 thousand years, the ability to pay attention to the environment and interpret the signs correctly to our advantage is what kept us alive. For example, seeing leaves falling from trees meant that food would soon be scarce. Or maybe seeing animal tracks would mean that we will have to be on guard looking at the position of the sun or the stars in the sky would help us orientate ourselves. So paying attention to various patterns or inputs from nature was a massive survival advantage. A lot of this information that comes from nature is filtered by our senses and it might come through in the form of a thought, like:" Aaaa! The winter is coming." Or it might come through as a feeling. For example, think about how you feel when the sky is cloudy and there's a storm coming versus how you feel when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. These are very different feelings, aren't they? So we often take input from around ourselves and process them without even being all that conscious about it. This brings me to the concept of brain priming. And I promised these are the last fancy words I'm going to use in this lesson. But what "brain priming" essentially means is that when stimuli are received through our senses, like when we smell, touch, taste, hear or see something, certain concepts are automatically activated in our memory, which stay activated for a certain amount of time influencing subsequent thoughts, reactions, and behaviors. For example, holding a hot cup of coffee will make your rate another person as being warmer than if you held a cold cup. The hot cup of coffee acts like a brain primer. Better yet, let me give you an example from architecture. We've all heard the expression, thinking outside the box as being the hallmark of creativity. In a study, subjects divided into two groups, took a creativity test. The first group sat in a physical box, and the second group took the test next to the box. They are literally thinking outside the box. And you will not be surprised to hear that it is this group that performed better at the creativity test. In fact, 20% better than is because embodying the concept, "thinking outside the box", activated as a brain primer for their thinking. So we establish that we are sensitive to the environment and that the information coming from around us is processed unconsciously through brain priming, which has the power to change how we feel, but are positive or negative feelings more supportive of creativity? Artists like Van Goch, Sylvia Plath, Edvard Munch, Charles Dickins Virginia Woolf, Pyotr Ilic Tchaikovsky, who appear to have dealt with depression, gave rise to the term "tortured artist" or "mad artist" in the popular culture. Spreading the concept that unless you are on the verge of madness, you cannot possibly create an irrelevant works of art. And to be fair, many pieces of art have been inspired by deep sadness, heartbreak, and unrequited love. For example, Frida Kahlo did some beautiful paintings processing her heartbreak from painter Diego Rivera, who was having numerous affairs, including one with Fritos own sister. Sculptor Auguste Rodin was inspired by the breakup with fellow sculptor. Camille Claudel when he created his two works, "The Kiss" and "The Eternal Idol". The concept of the mad artist had become so popular that scientists have proceeded to look for a link between mood disorders and creativity. However, I'm happy to report that so far there is no verifiable link between them. People with mood disorders are not necessarily more creative but, what appears to be more likely is that many people who suffer for mood disorders, turn to art and creativity to process what you're feeling. And some of them become extraordinary artists. But a mood disorder is not a prerequisite for creativity. But what scientists have been able to identify is that creativity relies on a feeling of calm and relaxationn because it is then when our mind can do free associations and is willing to take emotional, intellectual, and social risks that creative thinking demands. Conversely, a stress mine is more focused, alert, detail oriented, and analytical. So creating a space that helps us get into a positive state of mind is highly important for creativity. So what have we learned so far in this lesson? Number one is that we are sensitive to the stimuli of our environment and we process them both consciously and unconsciously. And number two is we need to feel calm, relaxed, in a positive state of mind in order to be creative. In the next lesson, I'm going to talk about the first way in which you can design your space for more creativity, which is personalization. 3. Personalisation: I want to start this lesson with a story. In 1952, the American Air Force had a problem. They had great pilots fighting better, more powerful, fight jet planes and getting worse results. And the problems seemed to be with the cockpit. At that time they believed that a cockpit that could fit every pilot should be designed for the average size pilot. The average size pilot would have an average height, average shoulder length, average hip size, and so on. That would make sense, right? But when they measured the body dimensions of some 4000 pilots, they realized that there was not one single pilot who had all the average dimensions. If they had hips close to the average, the shoulder length would not be or some other body part. They all had what they call a "jagged profile". By making the cockpit for the average man it was in fact designed for nobody. And what the American Air Force asked from the companies making the planes was a greater degree of personalization. Which is to say that the cockpit had to be designed for the extremes of the profile. Both the tallest and the shortest person had to be able to use the plane. Both the person with the narrowest hips and the biggest hips. Both the person with the biggest shoulder and the narrowest shoulders. This was quite a task as you may imagine, and with some resistance at first, the companies producing the planes, came up with some remarkable solutions, some of which we take for granted today, like the adjustable seat. Needless to say, a higher degree of personalisation of the cockpit yielded top results in the fighter pilots. And it turns out that not just our bodies have jagged dimensions, but also our minds. have jagged profiles, meaning that we are very good at some things, we are average at some things, and we have weaknesses. We are not average on all topics all the time. You naturally gravitate towards some subjects and other subjects make you run for the hills. If you're a big picture kind of person, maybe detailed work makes you very tired. Some people are naturally good socially and excel in sales and negotiations, and other do their best work when they're alone. And so a unique mental profile is best supported not by a standard working environment, but by a custom one. And so higher degree of personalization, both for our body and our mind is the key to doing great work. But how does personalization impact creativity? Think about the last time you received a personalized product or service. How did that make you feel? Maybe you had a tailor-made suit or a dress. Or maybe you receive a meal that was altered to fit your many dietary restrictions. Did't that make you feel special, important, happy and positive? And so when a space is designed with all your physical, psychological, and personal needs in mind, it is much more likely to make you feel safe, comfortable, relaxed, and happy. All preconditions necessary for creativity to appear. Don't believe me, according to a study from the University of Exeter, employees who have control over the design of their layout are not only happier and healthier, but also 32% more productive. Which also explains why a lot of companies saw a surge in productivity when they asked their employees to work from home during COVID. So how do we personalize our workspace? Personalization happens on multiple dimensions. The first dimension is related to your physical needs, which is to say that you need to use furniture that makes you feel comfortable and doesn't physically hurt you. Now, although most of the furniture out there is considered ergonomic, it is still designed just like the fighter pilot cockpit for the average size human. So the ability to adjust, not just the chair, but also the table to dimensions that feels comfortable to you is important, especially if you use them many hours a day. The second dimension refers to fitting the workspace to the type of work that you do. List out all the activities that you do like drawing, writing, social media, bookkeeping, and ask yourself, which activities do you do most of the time in which one is to do some of the time? What size should to the table be? How much storage do you need? Where should your tools be located? What items should be in the immediate vicinity and which ones can be further away? When the furniture you use is adequately sized for the type of work that you do and you are able to find everything you need in the vicinity that is, when you are able to focus on doing great work. And if you wanna go deeper into this topic and wish to design your own workspace, make sure to check out my class, "Home Office Interior Design. Work From Home Like a Boss." The third dimension of personalization are your psychological needs, which means that your workspace has to give you a positive feeling when you go in and it has to feel like you. I don't know what that might be for you, but for me, a space that makes me feel good is one that is filled with light. Also, the ability to keep a space tidy with little effort is also very important to me, although I'm not really successful at it. Something else that I love having, especially when I work on creative activities is music. For some people, it's the background noise of a cafe or a co-working space for other people is silence. Whatever might be for you, that thing that helps you be inspired and creative is good to write it down and find a way to implement it in your workspace. Colors can also be a way to move you emotionally. Some people, need the could white around them, like a blank canvas. Other people can't stand it. So identifying that color palette that triggers positive emotions in you is important. Finally, the decor elements that you use may serve to reinforce your creative identity and inspire you to continue on your creative journey. For artists, having art on the wall might do that for them. For makers having a peg board with all the tools on display. It's not just useful, but also a reminder that this is the space of a maker. For some people,it is the display of their values that reminds them what they stand for and why they are on this path. Some display of mischievousness and playfulness is also something that I see many creative offices. Whether it's the use of color or decor elements that are not just functional, but also entertaining, the elements around you can subtly send a message about who you are and what you stand for. So these are a few ideas that will help you personalize your space and make it feel more like you. In the next lesson, we're going to talk about movement and how it can inspire your creativity. 4. Move: For a long time, creativity has been believed to come entirely from our head. But more and more research papers show how various movements of the body can support creative thinking as well. I want to refer back to the first lesson regarding the brain primers and the experiment about the concept of thinking outside the box. Well, there's more. You've heard the expression of having a fixed mindset. And you will not be surprised to hear by now that when people stay put in a particular space, their perspective stays fixed. There are several studies showing how people perform better in creativity tests after walking or hiking. When we move the body the flow of ideas seems to be in movement too. Many creative people like Beethoven, Darwin, Dickins, Goethe and even Steve Jobs, took walks to help them compose, write, paint, and design. Besides walking, keeping your body moving and active indoors is the next best thing you can do for your creativity. How might you design your space for more movement? One idea is to separate your workspace or your home, if you work from home, in various work zones. The don't have to be many, it's already great if you have two. For example, urban sketch artist Jim Richards talked about having a table for writing and one for sketching because it allowed him to have a workspace where his tools and projects can be laid out and he could pick up where he left off when he returned to his table the following day. For you, it might be your home office and yard for the garage or the local coffee shop, or the local co-working space. Whatever you decide, make sure you set up your workspaces in such a way that they keep you active and moving between them. Besides moving your body, being able to move the furniture around you also has an impact on your creativity because the space around us act as a primer on our mind. And our creative mind is a flexible mind and a creative space is a flexible space. When your environment becomes a tool to test ideas and to think through concepts, this return will support your fluidity of thoughts. Put furniture on wheels, use light and mobile elements like stacking stools or flip charts. You can also use walls as drawing surfaces and the windows as cork boards for your Post-it Notes. You can use flexible table and changeable furniture to support different functions in the same space. Finally, the movement of the body and creating more flexibility in your space is just an adult way of telling you to play more. When children play, they are entirely absorbed in what they do and they don't care if they play at the table or on the floor. They are physical. They make things and are not afraid to be messy and lay out their craft projects and tools all over the kitchen table. They either make things around them into what they want or they imagine them to be what they want. Unfortunately, a lot of that is slowly but surely frowned upon as we grow up until we have to solve real and serious problems creatively. And we realize that what was good for us as kids is what we need as adults in order to solve these hard problems. Besides moving your body and working with flexible furniture, the last thing is to find a space that allows you to play, to make physical things and be messy. Have a workspace stocked with tools and materials that can be used to construct a variety of objects by hand. Most of the innovative apps and products require a minimal viable product, or MVP, which is often constructed by hand from materials of lesser qualities, which would not be possible without the space that will allow for messiness and the trial and error process. So a space that is flexible that will allow you to move and is unconstricted by boundaries of properness will help you keep a childlike state of mind necessary for you to generate and develop creative ideas. 5. Beauty: I'd like to start this lesson with a story of an interesting piece of research from Abraham Maslow, which many of you might know as the founder of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. It turns out that in the 1950s he designed an experiment in order to understand if the visual quality of our environment influences how we feel, think, and act. He designed three experimental sites. Site number one was called "The beautiful room", and it was Maslow's own office with a large draped window, a bookcase, a mahogany desk, a piece of sculpture, and a handsome rug. Site number two is "the average room", neat and clean, but very simply decorated. Site number three was "the ugly room", a repurposed basement staged like a janitors closet with dirty gray walls, a light fixture with a torn shade, mops, tin can ashtrays, and the bare mattress on the floor. The study participants were ushered in one of the three rooms and were given a set of black and white headshots. They were then instructed to rank the faces on a numerical scale for their energy and well-being. Now you may think that the results turned in would not be very different regardless of the setting. After all the pictures sets were identical and our rational mind says that a nice carpet and what is on the wall should not influence our judgment, right? But the students who evaluated the photos in the average and ugly room when noticeably more negative in their scoring than the people in the beautiful room. The effects were visible even on the examiners stationed in the basement. They were noticeably more irritated and fatigued than those managing the beautiful room. So what is the conclusion of this experiment? Well, the conclusion is that people enter into a more positive state of mind when they are in a beautiful setting than an average or ugly one. The visual quality of our environment does influence how we feel, think, and act. And the latest studies that have access to neuroimaging unlike Maslow, show that our predilection for beauty is rooted in biology. When we watch a piece of art or listen to a piece of music that we like, a part of our brain associated with positive and rewarding emotional experiences like love lights up. But when we are around the ugly elements, the parts of our brain associated with fear, anger, and movement light up almost as if urging us to run away from it. I think what this experiment also shows is that we can feel when the objects around us are infused with love themselves. A mahogany desk or a Persian carpet takes many talented artisans and a significant time to make. But rundown spaces and broken objects exude a lack of love that repels us. So as long as you stick to picking things for your workspace, decor that you feel exude this love and beauty, despite the fact that they might be vintage, the happier you will feel in your space, and the better you will perform. The next tip I have for you is something I have talked about in my class, minimalism versus maximalism, regarding the level of complexity in your surroundings. As you remember, studies show that as humans we consider an ordered complexity is being very beautiful. This is reflected in the building facades we like, the landscapes we prefer, and the interiors we want to spend most of our time in. When it comes to designing a space for more creativity less is not more, less is a bore. An orderly environment rich in stimulation creates an environment rich with ideas in our head. So when designing your creative space, a couple of features that you might want to look out for are: bookcases stuffed with books. A variety of natural textures and materials, an abundance of artworks, visually arresting structural and architectural details. rich surface patterns, and modulated details. Spaces that are layered and allow for views to the outside or two adjacent spaces. All these have been rated by users as more supportive of creativity than the simple boxy spaces that the minimalists are famous for. However, a sense of order is still part of the equation. When we do not perceive a sense of order, the room descends into chaos. And this can have some negative effects. But as long as our brain feels comfortable in this space, there isn't a sense of overwhelm, then we have reached right level of complexity for us. Finally, I want to talk a little bit about art and its impact on creativity. It appears that art that we personally consider beautiful, stimulates us to learn new things, take risks, and venture into new territories. And since the desire for novel experiences is the number one predictor for creative achievement. One could argue that art is the stimulation that we need for our own creative achievement. Additionally, art gives us pleasure and makes us happy, which is imperative for putting our mind in a positive place, necessary for cognitive flexibility and creative output. So here are some tips about arranging art in your home. Explore some background colors to make art pop. Find locations than naturally attract the eye, like the centre of the wall or the center of the room. Look for materials and colors in art that match the room colours and materials. And finally, don't overdo it. Art can be contemplated if it has some free room around it. So give it some space to breathe. Alright, I hope you enjoyed this lesson. Drop me a comment about your favorite idea below. And let's see how wide-open spaces impacts your creativity. 6. Open Spaces: If something has surprised me so far in researching and writing this class, is how much our bodies, our language, and the space around us are connected. We've talked about the enactment of the concept thinking outside the box that made participants do better in creativity tests in our lesson called Creativity. And we talked about the concept of fixed mindset and how moving our bodies stimulates the fluidity of ideas. In this lesson, I wanted to talk about the concept of "openness". You've probably heard the expression open your mind in order to let more ideas come in and not be so attached to one idea. And at least according to Harvard psychology professor Jordan Peterson, openness to new ideas and new experiences is the one human feature directly correlates to being a creative person. According to him, not everyone is creative, but people who display this unique feature are. So what kind of space do you think fits an open mind? You guessed it, an open space. And in this lesson, I'm going to give you some tips on how to create a sense of space in your environment and stimulate creativity. The first feature is a tall ceiling. Researchers have found that subjects taking a creativity test in a room that had a ten-foot ceiling, or about three meters, scored higher than subjects who took the exact same test in the exact same room, but with a lower ceiling of about eight feet or 2.4 meters. The reason behind it seems to lie in the fact that when people look at spaces with tall ceilings, a part of the brain correlated with visual exploration seems to be activated, which means that spaces with high ceilings create the interests to explore the space. And as we've talked before, an interest in novelty is at the core of creativity. Now, if you work in a space, that has a tall ceiling, that's wonderful. If you have a fake ceiling above your head, you might opt for taking it down despite it leaving some shafts out in the open in order to create a more sense of space. Sometimes attics may have the potential to remove some fake ceilings and show some exposed beams. If however, none of these things are an option, you can also trick the mind into believing that it is under a higher ceiling than it actually is by emphasizing the vertical axis and encouraging the eye to move into an upward direction. So picking pieces of furniture or decor that are taller than wider, helps, like art or mirror in portrait frames, tall bookcases and wardrobes. Standing lamps, decorative accessories emphasizing the vertical axis, drapes and striped wallpaper. Any decor elements that encourage the eye to look towards the ceiling are helpful. Also keeping the ceiling and the walls the same color. And additionally rounding up the top of the wall to blur the edge between the wall and the ceiling really makes the entire place look more spacious. So far, we discussed some tricks on how to give the mind some space above the head. It appears that the space in front of our eyes also matters for the same reason that it activates the side of the brain that encourages exploration. Open views to the outside world support a connection to nature which if you've watched any of my other classes, you know that this is great for lowering stress and mental fatigue. So how might you create the sense of space in front of your eyes? You can place your workspace by the window if you have a particularly beautiful view. But you can also place the table perpendicular to the window and close to a wall to allow for the eye to look both into the room and out the window. What if your view is not particularly great or your workspace is facing a blind wall, and you cannot change that. I have two tips for you. One is to use artwork depicting nature. It appears that our brains are not very good at telling the difference between art and reality. So paintings and photography depicting landscape nature have been found inducing the observer the same big picture view of the world as a real image see through a window. Additionally, you might want to make use of the colours blue and green, which have been connected to enhance creativity mostly because they are connected to natural settings, like landscape, to open sky, and large pools of water. All settings that generally make us feel happy, safe, peaceful, and relaxed, all of which are feelings that support creativity. That being said, there are people who swear by warm colour is playing a role in making them happy. Personally, I'm a big fan of mustard yellow. When I see it, it lifts my spirits. So take what feels good for you from these steps and create the kind of space that fits your needs. We've talked so much about the space where we work, but a lot of our creative ideas come at times when we're technically not even working. In my next lesson, I would like to share some tips about how to design your space for rest. 7. Take A Break: When Archimedes came up with the famous mathematical principle named after himself, he was taking a bath. When Newton came up with the theory of gravitation, he was taking a stroll in his garden and observed how an apple fell from a tree. Paul McCartney woke up with the song "yesterday" in his head after a good night's sleep. And many more creative people remarked that some of their best ideas came when they were not even thinking about the problem, but doing something else entirely like relaxing or even sleeping. How is it that our best ideas are coming to us when we are not even thinking about them? It appears that our understanding of when the brain is working and not working is completely wrong. Our brain is working almost all the time, even when we are sleeping. During sleep, the brain is turning over information acquired during the day. Integrating it with what you already know. Looking for potential connections among the existing data, in an effort to solve lingering problems. Naps during the day have also been proven to support overall brain health. And people who took creativity tests after naps scored higher than people who did not take naps. Even mind-wandering has received a bad reputation as neuroscientists have found, day dreaming involves the same brain processes associated with imagination and creativity. What I wish to say with all these stories is that rest supports creativity just as much as focused work does. And if you want to create a space that will help your brain, the more creative, it will have to offer both a place for focused work, and one for rest and recuperation. So what design features might you have to consider when designing your workspace for more creativity? First step is finding ways to control the light. If you want to have an afternoon nap, being able to pull the blinds or curtains and making the room a little darker can help with the production of melatonin, which in return, can help you get into the right state of mind for mind-wandering or for sleep. Also dimming the lights at 150 lux has been found by German researchers to be very supportive of creativity because it deprives the eye from external distractions and it allows the mind to wander internally, which supports daydreaming and creativity. Regulate light intensity in your workspace by adding dimmers to light switches and lamps will help you get into that atmospheric mood that is needed for creativity. Have you ever wondered why Freud invited his patients to sit reclined on a couch looking upward at the ceiling? Now, his explanation was that he didn't like to be stared at all day. But this position did something wonderful for his patients. It allowed them to take their mind off everything around them and focus internally. It allowed for the body to relax and the mind to wonder. Scientists have also discovered that people can solve creative problems ten percent better when in a reclined position than when they're standing up. The reason behind it seems to be a region of our brain called lucos coerus who raises the levels of our blood flow, in the body, when we are in a reclined position. This is more or less the position I used when writing this class. I find writing one of the most challenging activities that I have to do. And being reclined helps me relax and ideas seem to flow better. It gets even easier if it's the first thing I do in the morning. And so I will postpone getting out of bed for a few hours not to interrupt the stream of ideas and easiness with which I write in the morning, which doesn't seem to be there later in the day. So find yourself a couch or a daybed where you can recline, allow for more ideas to come through. It can even be a big armchair or recliner. Whatever type of furniture will help the body relax, will be the best one for you to keep the stream of ideas going. Finally, how many times have you heard people say that they get their best ideas in the shower. One of my favorite designers of all time, Tom Ford has a bath, install it his office. And he bathes three times a day, sometimes five because it helps him relax and stay creative. It appears that when we get into the shower, the body starts going into the motions of the established routine, which frees up the mind to wander and think of other things. Additionally, just like the other examples, the shower is relatively simple and familiar space that provides very few distractions. This combined with the hot water and the feeling of relaxation, helps our brain activate the default mode network connected to mind-wandering and creativity. To conclude, creativity is far more linked to the feelings of relaxation and boredom than it is to stress and worry. That is not to say though, that you should put your feet up, relax all day. A creative puts in the work to master the craft. But setting up your space in such a way that will support both focused work and relaxation is going to be the best setup for creativity. Right, I hope you loved the principles. In the following lessons. I'd like you to meet some creatives from around the world and hear them talk about their work and how to workspaces support their creativity. 8. The Florist: If you want to find color, you can. Well, my name is Hanck Rolling. People may know me from the "Big flower fight" on Netflix. I am a freelance florist, which is sort of, slightly vague term for someone who is a florist but doesn't necessarily work in a flower shop. But I hired myself out to florists, mainly in London because that's where I am based, where I live since the last 14 years. So I hire myself out to florists for their events needs. I'm making floral sculpture, doing big installations, weddings, corporate, basically for all their floristry needs. Yeah, I've seen what you can do on Netflix big flower fight And I thought that was amazing, because I'm an architect and I remember you having this weird challenges where they would give you like a stick and then you would have to make this massive structure around it. And I was like, I know engineering and I would not know how to do this. Like how did you guys do it? Well, I'm sort of because I'm sort of doing quite a lot of big scale floristry. It wasn't completely new to me. So it was sort of just thinking on your feet and they gave us sort of material or we sometimes we could order some materials in advance, like wood or stuff. But for instance, when we had the bowl and , we had the beach cone. We drew the turtle in that episode. And so we were sort of very quickly thinking, what can we use as a base for the turtle? It's gotta be a surf board. We had one of the discarted surfboards and so you have to think on your feet and improvise. And that's actually with a lot in our work that sometimes it's a very meticulously planned and don't misunderstand me. But sometimes you get to points where you can't really, there is unforeseen things because the entrance to the church is different than you had expected. So you need to, you need to always be able to adapt what you're doing. And that is something that we are quite good at as florists. I have two questions based of that. One is, I'm curious because I see your fashion styles on Instagram and this is how we connect a little bit, yeah, I think that's also a very creative process that you do there. I know it's not a job, but you're very good at it. I'm curious, how does that match with your... how do you see it in your own creative process? It is funny because, I always had a little bit of a sort of slightly desire to be different. I am the youngest of six children growing up. And I was used to me I had to wear hand me downs from my older brothers. So it was always someone else's choice of clothing. So I started sort of making my own money and start buying my own clothes. I would start to buy stuff that my brothers wouldn't use or wouldn't wear. I think there is sort of that was the start of wanting to be different in me. And then I think moving to London has helped with that as well. Because in London, people celebrates eccentricity. In the flower, flower world, It's a very creative industry. So I just started to create, started to dress more and more colourful and then people seem to appreciate it. I know it if we do an event, for instance, and I know that we have certain colors in the events, I might just where those colors or sort of try to match those colors. And people seem to appreciate that and enjoy that. So it became part of me. Do you find that people remember you easily because you stand out quite so much? This is a business move you would say? May I give an example? I remember when we first turned up for the big flower fight, we didn't know any of the other contestants because that was all kept secret. So we arrive in the hotel on the very first day and all the couples arrive and we're gathering in the hallway. And me and Jan were there and we were our usual colorful self. And then I remember Sarah Sarah Campbell, who is. In "The big flower fight" as well, she's the American lady and she has very successful business indeed in America. And she, she, she turned around in the bus because we were taken in a little bus from the hotel to the site where we were filming. She turns around and says: "Oh my God, you guys have such a strong brand?!" And I was a bit like a brand, a brand. I didn't even see myself as a brand. I still don't see myself as a brand. But I guess she is right in that you do get sort of known and also in the business you sort of get known for also what you look like, what you bring. You're not just your floristry skills, but also the way you present yourself. I wanna, I wanna go into your creative process now because I'm curious, because I know creative people have moments, specific moments when they feel more creative. And specifically I'm curious about if you have like moments in the day where you feel more creative or moments in the week where you feel like really more like doing something creative. It is funny because for my work, I obviously, I do a lot of creative things. And that's basically continuously during the day. There's not like a moment for doing that. But if I, if I have to sort of, if I'm in my own creative process, it's often when I'm sort of on moments that I'm sort of locked down, but I'm not thinking of other things. So it might be just the time that I sit on the toilet. Those moments where you actually sort of where you don't have anything to do for a bit. And you can just sort of you can let your mind wander. Things like travelling could be really good. because I live in London and I travel a lot by public transport. So on the train or on the tube, which is the underground, there's moments that I can think. I block out everything that's happening around me, and then I go into my creative process. Why do you think that is? Is it the buzz behind or is it more like I'm not trying to talk to anyone or see anyone so I have to go into myself, what is happening there? The Brits are a bit funny when they're on public transport because they go sort of this sort of blink it mode. So people are ignoring each other. So there is this sort of vacuum where everyone is in his own little space, even though you are altogether in this public transport. So it's sort of almost like a safe space where you can just do your own thing and go into your mind because you're travelling and you can't really do anything else. You're sort of forced to sit or stand still. And that is a moment that my mind goes. At work. So the tube, the toilet, where else? The bed, or the garden Or sometimes I find it as well when I Because in floristry we, sometimes have like the sort of menial jobs where you have sort of like it's very repetitive. You have to do something over and over again because it's sort of like repeat tasks that will allow you to get creative because you can sort of start with things. What are these repeat tasks exactly? When you make bouquets of flowers that you have to put for the structure or... When it's a repetitive thing. So often for events like there might be like 500s budvases to make. Budvases is a small vase with just a few little flowers and that is something, if you have to do 500, that is very repetitive and quite boring. So you start off in very good spirits and concentrated on what you're doing but by number 20, you are sort of, you can start doing something else with your mind, which is great. You are doing vase number 423 and you have a genius idea. what do you do? sometimes I write it down, I remember something. I usually carry a notebook or I make notes on my phone where I go. I need to remember this and I don't want it to drop out of my of my head because it happens. It happens. Oh, I had such a good idea. What was it? I can't get to it anymore. But yeah, I will I will write it down or it will make a note of it so that I will remember. You told me about places but I asked you about the time of day or a week. Are you a night owl or a morning person, or more in the afternoon kind of guy or what do you do? When do you feel like you are more creative? I also have to get up early for work. How early? It depends on the day really, but sometimes it's like two o'clock. And I don't actually find that hard to get up that early. So it's quite easy to just get up. And I have a strict morning routine in 45 minutes. I've showered, eaten and dressed, and then out the door to work. In that routine. There's not very much time for a creative process. But as soon as I step on public transport and there will be time to think and to get into the creative process. So I guess it's I guess it's morning. It can be anywhere during the day really. I don't have necessarily a time I think that I'm more creative than other times. You just start when you get the new task, right? Even though your fashion is quite creative. I often get the question. especially when I get up early, people say: You must put your clothes out the the night before for the next day? And I'm like, No, I couldn't. Because you never really know how you wake up. And what is the weather like? I need to decide on the day. I find that packing for a holiday or for work If I have to go away, is very hard because then I sort of have to suddenly make decisions in advance of what I'm going to wear in four or five days time. That is torture. But I'm curious, I mean, I remember London being such a grey grim city, I think all I would wear is grey. Yeah. London can be, can be very grey. That is, that is quite true. And the weather! OMG! At the moments it's grey out. But no. If you want to find a colour, you can. I guess I'm just sort of focusing on the color and on the good things. But I think that's part of my education would have been like that. Specifically in the masterclass of floristry. That is, where we would sort of trying to focus on things that other people might not necessarily notice because they're sort of part of the detail of things. You can, you can sort of learn yourself to focus on, for instance, color or repetition. Or you can, you can, you can learn yourself to focus on beauty. I think that is something that I'm forever grateful for. Having learned that. You said you worked as a freelance florist. Yes. I was wondering if you could if you could get into a little bit of your workspace if there is any thing like that. Yeah, my my workspace and it's very dependent on obviously on which florist I work for. Usually, it is it's not an empty space. Florists or never empty. It's always a little bit messy. But there's an open space with a workbench. The workbench is the most important because that's sort of what we work on and often there is storage under the workbench for all sorts of stuff. There will be boxes and boxes of silk, flowers. There'll be how do you call it shelving units full of vases. So all the different bits that we use where we sort of dotted around the edges of the room. And that is actually quite nice I find because when we are in a creative process, for instance, this spring we had a big project where we were doing animals. We were making animals for a charity. There's a charity that is sort of working on wildlife preservation. And they are based in a castle in the Cotswolds here in England. And they wanted to have like an animal trail inspired by Noah's Ark. All the animals two-by-two dotted around the garden. So like a kids trail so they can go round the garden and discover, all these animals and this client, "all for love. London", she has the frames and we were sort of trying to come up with what material, natural material can we use to cover these frames with to create this feeling of the animal or the fur or the sort of the character of it. And that sometimes it's just literally going through boxes not rubbish because it's not rubbish, but it's sort of like boxes of lots of bits that we have used in the past. And then think, oh my God, this is something that works really well. Then obviously we will have to buy more of that because these animals were all life-size. It is also a process of looking around you, what's there? What can we use? Does it work? I really enjoy that process. These are not like your run-of-the-mill florists, right? These are kind of florists who specialize in this kind of structures. They're not your run-of-the-mill florists florists because all the florists that I work for are, they do sort of quite high-end installation work. And some of them do quite a lot of the sort of more structural sculptural work. And we work in places like the castles and palaces. Because that's sort of where these top events will take place. It is always sort of yeah, it's quite high level. I remember doing a wedding on Ibiza and the bride and groom day that had swans that we sort of made out of wadding then stuff that you sometimes have in pillows, that white fluffy fibrous material that they were made out of that. And then we sort of had real flowers going over the top of it. And they looked beautiful. But also we've made some arches and we had to do like a dressed up pool party and we would go into nature in Ibiza and just sort of cut trees back and sort of use those as a backdrop. That's for the flower arrangement just to creates a sense of belonging as well. Because if you just bring in materials from outside rather than things that you find on location It's always just going to look a little bit out of place I think. it's nice to incorporate things that you can find in a country or in a certain spot. So your workspace is both this kind of florist workspaces studios, you would say and sometimes you just go into nature and pick up stuff. Yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I mean, nature is such an amazing source of inspiration. It's always, I don't know. That is sort of the core of what we do. It's always natural. I say always natural materials. Sometimes we use silk flowers, but they're still inspired by nature. Do you ever do nature walks or do you look for nature photos when you try to be creative with your with your installation? Yeah. Yeah. I often find myself emerging myself in nature because it gives me a sort of a sense of calm as well. And often I'm just alone in nature anyway. So it's very good to just cut yourself off of work and daily lives by imagining yourself in nature and sort of just look. Looking it's a funny kind of expression of maybe, but looking at the details in nature is amazing how things change and how quickly things changed during the seasons. And all these sort of changes and things those can be such a big inspiration to what we do. How do you create these structures? Do you use sketching at all or do you do little models at first and then big models or how do you go for the big stuff first, or do you have like a small process Iteration process? Sometimes I make a little plan but it's not there will be also sketches involved or clients have like a brief and they say, Well, this is what we want to create. Can you do this? But you do the end models right from the beginning or do you do like a mini model first, or how do you do this? No, no, I go go straight in big. Really? Yes. I remember I had to do a Chinese water dragon once and I had chosen the location where it would go in, in one of the positions and they were like, Oh, well, we would like it to be like maybe two meters? And then as I start making it and it turned into a five-meter long animal. And I'd run out of wire, the wire that aided off. So I go back to the office, sorry, I need more wire because I've sort of run out and by the way It's become five meter tall, long. And they were like: Oh my God! Are you sure it's going to fit there? And I said Yeah. It will be fine. And it looked amazing because it was sort of more sort of snaking through the position where it was with with the tail sort of sweeping around. I think also often when you make something and you wanted to make it bigger than life because you want it to not get lost. You wanted to get noticed. The big flower fight again as well, obviously, because we have everything was bigger than life and every episode had to be bigger and bigger as well. So that is something that I'm quite used to. Then time is money. In floristry, there's not always a lot of both. So if you want to do it, you go straight for the real deal. So we have to create. There's rarely time to make a model or to work it out beforehand. It might be a drawing because I can do a quick sketch. Quick sketch. This is what we do. And then it's life size. All bigger. I'm curious because you use real flowers, how long do they last? I mean, you make this elaborate structure and it has to look fresh for a little bit of time. What's the timeline of of these structures before they start to look sad? It depends. Because sometimes when we do these sort of big, big structures, It's not always just flowers. It can also be natural materials like leaves or bark, and they will last longer than flowers obviously. But for instance, there is in London during the Chelsea Flower Show, which is a very famous Flower Show from the horticultural society here in Britain. There is another sort of event that runs simultaneously and it's called Chelsea in bloom. So around the area where the Chelsea Flower Show is, shops, there will do like a floral installation in front of their window or in front of the shop. So there's lots of stuff to discover and that is on for a week. So it's installed on Sunday and it runs to Saturday the next week. So it's basically six days. Some flowers will lost that time. Or we make sure that we use moss or foam that the flowers will last in. But yeah, it depends very much on the specific brief if it has to last longer, because sometimes we have installations that have to last for months, we will use silk flowers. And when you, when you use these with real branches and real sort of other materials alongside it, it's very hard to tell the difference, these days. Do you ever feel sad that your beautiful, colourful, creative structures have such a short life? Sometimes, yes. If you go into the garden and you pick a flower, it will not last forever. You know the moment you pick it, is basically going to die. There is something almost profoundly beautiful about that as well, that you can, you can take this flower from the garden, this tiny little flower and you can take, it inside and you can give it a place and you can give it is a moment in the spotlight for all people to enjoy. And then it will wilt and it will die. But because you took it from a certain location, you put it somewhere else. You gave it a life. If you gave it. I think on the one hand it's sad that it will die. On the other hand, we do create beauty. I am curious, what do you do when you have like a creative block where you need to have like a good idea but it's not coming or things are kind of, you know what I mean? What do you do when have those things? What's what's your process like? I think often I go back through photographs or to previous drawings or previous looking back on what I've done before always helps me moving forward. When it comes to florist part or do you mean that all creative processes are the same? I think in both, really. In flowers, it's maybe not so much looking back, because in flowers It's you, I always get inspired by just the flowers that we have and what is available. and sometimes you might not be able to get to what you want because something is out of season. And then you'll have to make a decision to sort of change it to something else. In the flowers that it's more about what can I get and what can I think we can get and work from there. But in my audits, it's often when I look back on what I've done. Yeah. You talked about painting and drawing. Do you do this at home or do you have another workspace for that? I mean, my home is not big. I mean, space in London. When I work from home, I often sort of work small-scale because of the size of our house. And so once a year and it's coming up again in May, I sort of, there's a group of friends that I have Dutch artists and they are all people that I've known for like 15 years. And we go once a year and we hire a farmhouse in Holland. and we all go there and we spend a week of painting there together. That is, oh, it's the best thing ever. So in principle, we sort of pains for four hours in the morning and then in the afternoon, you can just because it's in the forests or near the forest, you can go walking or you could you can do anything you like. I often because I don't have such a big space at home, I often find myself still working in the afternoons as well. Sometimes into the evenings. Because it's like it's, it becomes very addicted to have that space and certainly to be able to work on a big scale. During lockdown, I was drawing lots of trees. And the last time I went On this studio trip, I translated some of my drawings into large-scale canvases. And it was amazing to sort of what I draw on like an A4 size notepad to suddenly work on it like a meter and a half by a meter and have the whole physicality is blissful. So we talked about places, we talked about nature, are there any other elements in your environment, maybe your home or other places that make you help you be inspired or stay creative or keep those creative juices going. Is it your wardrobe? I don't know. It's a funny one because I think sometimes it's also, it's also who you work with. So the people play a part in that. And sometimes that is part of where we work because obviously I work for a few different places. So some of these companies might be more open to, to sort of us bringing in ideas and sort of be more parts of the creative process. And sometimes it's, it's more that we sort of, you get a brief, this is what you have to do and this is the exact recipe or what it has to look like. And this is what you have to create. So sometimes it's sort of slightly more limited in how creative you can be involved. So yes, I love I love having people around me and one of my clients is very good. She has a team of seasoned florists and we spin off each other. So we could use this or we could use that. Sometimes people are part, like on the Big Flower Fight me and Jan we were, we were often sort of spinning off ideas with each other. Oh we could use this, or we could use that and, we could sort of move into that. And that helps to elevate the design or helps to elevate the process. I think if you allow each other's space to bring your best ideas to the table. I love how multifaceted you are as a creative person. I'm wondering, you know, because of all these interests, how come you manage to stay so loyal to floristry? How, how is it that your path has not attracted you to fashion, or to painting or to...You know a lot of creative people will lose a little bit of the focus on the way because you kind of are good at so many things. And you could be better if you just focus for a year or two. I'm pretty sure that if you went to the fashion business now you could have a career. I'm sure you're not interested in that. I'm curious because I know a lot of creative people and maybe even some of the people who will be watching the class, because it's, it's part of platform that is very creative. They lose focus and they don't even know where to focus because they are so multi interested in so many creative fields. I'm curious. How did you, how did you deal with that? It's not a conscious decision not to pursue any other creative roads, but I've also dabbled in them, so I will still for my own joy and satisfaction I will draw and paint, and sing as well. I love singing. So it's something that is probably my upbringing as a very simple farmer's son, in Holland. And my parents, because I wanted to go to Art Academy and they were a bit like from, I think you should learn a real profession. I had the same discussion with my family. That is, although I thought it was ridiculous, because I wanted to go to Art Academy and I thought I can make a career in art most likely it has distilled into my being that yes, it's fine to do art and do music and do all these things. But you still need to have a proper job. And in my case, that became floristry. But it's so creative what you do that I would not call it a proper job, but ok! And I'm also in that position because I remember after the, after the whole big flower fight Jan also asked me, for instance, do you want to be a florist for the rest of your life? Because Jan sorta maybe we can do something from television or for whatever... I'm not averse it. I mean, if it would come on my path, I would happily follow that. But I really like what I do. I like floristry and I like the creative process of floristry, and I get a lot out of that. So it's, it's it's just it's it's sort of yeah. It's me. Good. Well, lovely to talk to you, Ana. Lovely to talk to you. Thank you so much! Thank you very much. 9. The Urban Sketch Artist: So I decided many years ago that I didn't want to have a home with art. I wanted to live in a piece of art. I'm James Richards. Most people call me Jim, my family calls me Jimmy, but that's who I am. And the last five years we've been located in Siesta key, Florida, which is nice. It's it's a little barrier island on the Gulf Coast of Florida, way down south. near actually a very creative environment called Sarasota, great arts community and that sort of thing. So there's inspiration and support here. Everywhere you look. My creative business has evolved over time. I practiced as a landscape architect. I designed neighborhoods and districts and plazas as an urban designer, that type of thing. And most of that involved a lot of drawing and travel. And that eventually morphed into doing workshops for universities and then art groups and then travel companies. And that's kind of where my wife and I are at now, is we're leaving for Morocco in about four days to do a ten day workshop there. We've got a ten day gap that we're going to spend in Rome and then go to Tuscany to teach another ten day workshop there. So, you know, things are taken up again after COVID and we're just really excited about it. So your wife is an artist as well. You guys sketch together. No, she's not an artist. She's an electrical engineer. Which is why we absolutely need each other. You know, she brings this whole organizational mind and she can work out all the logistics of these complicated trips, workout, all the travel. She's much more even keeled and level headed than I am, so she can make sure that I get where I need to go and if I freak out, you can bring me down, That kind of stuff. We've actually got a client who will not hire me unless he knows that Patty is going to come because I'm high maintenance, you know, it's like she's the keeper and okay, I'll let him out for a while and then we'll bring him back in. Sounds like a perfect match. I'm really blessed it's a really good match. I wanted to talk about your workspace, your work process in general as a creative person. And I was wondering if you can talk about your time. Like when do you feel more creative? I know a lot of people say there are special times of the day when they feel creative. You have something like that. Yeah. They're certainly different vibes for different times. Through no fault of my own as far as I know, I started waking up about 3:30 in the morning, about 15 years ago, almost 20 years ago. And at first it really bothered me because I thought that something was wrong. And I got some advice. Well, why don't you just write? That's what a lot of people do at that time. And I didn't mention writing is also a big part of the work that I do now, magazine articles and I'm working on another book and that type of thing at four in the morning no one's bothering you. It's dark, there's no noise. I start writing. I I tried to write at least three pages every day. And if it goes well, for me, I'm just writing for the first page or so, but by the second page, if it's going well, it starts to feel like dictation. You know, like I'm just letting things come through. That's where a lot of my book came from. That's where a lot of my "well, what am I going to do next" comes from? It's like I heard or read the story the other day where this woman was talking about, It's like a little spotlight and she steps into it and then there's another little spotlight. And while she steps into that, can't see the end of the journey, but those pages are like the spotlights for me. I get direction and inspiration from those. Now, you asked about the day so Patty comes and gets me and we have breakfast. I typically do whatever project I'm working on until about one in the afternoon, whether it's painting or putting together an article or writing or whatever it is. That's my most productive time. Typically. If I don't get what I'm trying to do done by two or three o'clock. It's not going to get done, frankly, because I'm just I'm exhausted after that from whatever I've been doing before. I'm taking lessons from Ernest Hemingway. I may go fishing. I may go down to the Oyster Bar. I may take a nap, but works pretty much done at that point. Unless I've really got something that's pressing me like a video class or something like that. So you work from 3:30 in the morning till 1 PM? Yeah. By the time I get to my desk, it's usually about four. But yeah, One to two, something like that. Wow, it's really amazing. I've been waking up earlier as well. And also noticing that I'm much sharper and more focused in the morning, but I haven't I haven't managed to get the 3:30. It's it's quite a challenge. When do you go to bed then? I usually try to get in bed by nine. Okay. And read a little bit and not for very long because I don't I don't I can't stay away. But I used to spend the first week of every year in a monastery in Kentucky. I did that for 13-15 years or something. And it was actually one of the monks that said, you know, that's, that's when we write, at 3:30 in the morning. You ought to give that a shot. And I did. And I've never looked back for all those years. I'm curious when you said that you get almost like you're being dictated, can you talk more about that? It occurs especially when I'm writing. Literally it's almost like a conversation. And it works best if I always start with a question and then they'll just be this download into my head. I was describing it to somebody one time and they said, Oh, you mean like a brain dump? Yeah, I should do this. It no, it's not a brain dump at all. A brain dump you pouring out. This is really listening to wherever that inspiration is coming from. Once I figured out that, that listening, that inner voice was the same for me as what was happening when I was drawing and when I was ideating and those sorts of things. Boy is this whole creative world just kinda opened up and I realized that those aren't different boxes. They're just all part of living a creative life. And I, I highly recommend it. But it sounds like to you, writing is very much a part of sketching as well. Are they influenced or do they work together? How do they integrate? Absolutely. If I will, feel a little unmoored, sometimes kind of disconnected and not really sure what the next step is, whether it is thinking Career-wise or whether it's for that day. And would that be better spent out in the field sketching or something else? Yeah, that absolutely comes through during those discussions, there was a, there was a time in my life about 20 years ago, writing, writing, writing. And I used to ask, whoa, whoa. What is this about? The answer would come very clearly. You don't need to know what it's about. That's not your job. Your job is to go out there and draw like a madman, as often as you can, and bring your skills up to the level of your vision. And that, that went on for a few years, actually. What I do now? Draw like a madman, be quiet and go draw that kind of thing. And things ended up coming together in such a way where that, that constant drawing just became invaluable. They say when the opportunity show up. You gotta be prepared. And that was the preparation. Writing is almost sort of meditation to you, right? Or sort of clearing your thoughts. There's absolutely it's a meditation. There's, there's no doubt about it. Some people think of it as a 45-minute prayer. I think of it more like just answering questions and getting them answered, which often happens just in a straight meditation as well. But, but yeah, I meditate at least twice, sometimes more during the day. I loved the creative process, the way you describe it. But a lot of people use space to influence how they feel, to get themselves into a state. Do you think it helps to support your creativity? Talk to me a little bit about how this space works. This is kind of the mother ship back here. This is where I'll come to do most things, certainly drawing and painting related. And I'll often sketch out in the field and come back in and work on things here. The centerpiece is this old table. This table is six feet across. It's a big thing. And it's actually an old drafting table from an architectural company that the woman who designed this desk salvage. And she custom-made the bottom for this thing, which looks like an old cast iron sewing machine. And it's got all these old wheels that you can move it up and down with this sort of thing. There's just a real feel of history with it. It's almost like you're kinda communing with the people who have used it before? I've had it for about 15 years now, I guess. I tried to put as many things around it as I can, that,1, are very practical for the work and things are within easy reach. Painting equipment, reference books, those types of things. But I also keep some stuff around just for inspiration. These I've got one of Ralph Steadman illustrated books on wine country up there. And I've got Paul Hogarth illustrated version of a year in Provence. Those types of things. If I get feeling a little low, I can look up and say, Ralph, could blast right through this. I'm going to blast through it too. I never go out without a hat. My hats are over there, I had three skin cancers cut out of my face. And so let's try to cover up and use sunscreen and all those we can. One of the main things I'm going to swivel you just a little so you can see all these windows. And this whole wall is windows over here, that lookout into this jungle canopy, if you will. And the first time we walked into this place where we were going to buy it, I looked out and I said, well, this is the one. This feels like Havana or this feels like South America or something like that. We live in a condo community and the community swimming pool is right outside the window. So you see that kind of action going on. I am immediately adjacent to the living area here, and we have art pretty much floor to ceiling throughout the home. So all of these things influence, I decided many years ago that I didn't want to have a home with art. I wanted to live in a piece of art. I wanted to be part of a piece of art. And so we collect mostly folk art. And most of it is from our travels. And that's hugely inspirational when I look at something we picked up in Vietnam or Cuba or Key West or Europe or something like that. And so I try to not just think of this as the workspace, It's everything. I have a second room back that I use for my writing and for the video. That seems to be the best way for me to handle that. That is kind of a separation of tasks only because that's more quiet. So I'll go in there at four in the morning and close the door and dim the light and put on a candle and start writing and go to town. Sounds like you need two different types of atmospheres for your two types of work. Is that correct? Not necessarily. I've had studios in the past where I could do it all. but we live in an 1800 square foot condo. And so there wasn't a single room that would accommodate all the things that I needed do with all the windows and all. This was really the best productive space in terms of drawing and painting and those types of things. And so I don't have to clean everything off for another task. I go back to the other room where I've got the computer and I've got a place to ride, a little desk and all that business. And as I say, it's a little bit quieter and that plays into it as well. I find it really fascinating and do write by hand or do you need to type? Is this like a workspace thing? No, you write by hand. It's gotta be by hand for me. I'm just saying that. And I don't just write by hand. I write longhand with a fountain pen. And to me that's kind of the ritual of doing it all is to... I've got these beautiful journals and there's a stack of them back here. I've got these beautiful journals that I've used for years and years and years and just fill them up with this long hand. You have an architect's writing. Typicall architect. I'm a recovering architect where we're trying to loosen up and then do some things a little bit more, more loose way. But if I were to take something away from your workspace, what, would you say it's like the most essential thing for you that brings you the most joy and creativity in that space. Yeah, it'd be a close tie between this old desk and these windows. I think I could use any desk if I had the windows. And it's not just for light it's like a feeling of connection, which is one of the reasons we move to this island. Just a few steps away is little Sarasota Bay with a peer on it that I can go out too early in the morning if I want to. Sun comes up out there and maybe a 100 yards the other direction is the Gulf of Mexico. with this beautiful turquoise water that's usually fairly calm and whatnot. And that feeling of connection where you can go out and look across the sea. And you know that New Orleans is that way, and Mexico's that way, and Key West is that way. And I can go out on the water and keep going and get to Porto or the Mediterranean or whatever. And this does the same thing. I'm connected to the art. I'm connected to the jungle canopy out here. The sunlight, the birds singing, all those things are, I just loved it. I've never had a workspace quite like it. It sounds like you're very connected to nature, right? This is something that means a lot to you. Then you can connect with the light and the plants outside. And also that you're in easy access to nature. Would you say nature is a big part of your creative process? Absolutely. That goes all the way back to childhood when we lived in very landscape intensive places. We live in deep South Louisiana. with these huge live oaks and the hanging moss and all that, that sort of thing. Lots of water everywhere. And during the summers in college, I worked out by the Gulf of Mexico, Bastian Bay on boats, those types of things. And the reason that we moved here was to be close to that type of that type of edgy feeling. You're not way up in the mainland. You're not way out on a remote island or something. You're right on that edge where the sea meets civilization. And it's invigorating to me, it's inspirational. Yeah, absolutely. Do you work just in these two spaces or do you work in any other place in your home? Absolutely. I work in here a lot during the day. Before sunrise I work in the writing room back there, just outside these windows, as I mentioned, is a swimming pool with furniture around it. And on a particularly nice day I will go down there and work at the pool. In this community. Nobody shows up before noon. So I will spend some mornings down there working. And I will occasionally go out to the beach, not real often. But I will take a pad and some pens to write long hand. Particularly if I'm, if I'm stuck in writing, there's something about the walk over there and being out there that can unstick things for me. Hey, I've heard this from a lot of creative people and especially writers, that walking or walking in nature was something that they did almost to a ritual that supported their creativity. Is that how it works for you as well? A lot of times, yes. Walking in nature, maybe not so much unless the beach is, obviously nature. And that's a great place for me to go out and just walk early in the morning before it gets crowded. We've got a point of rocks out here that's particularly beautiful and I'll walk down that way and walk back. But even when we lived in the city. Yeah, if I got stuck, I'd go out for a walk and my rule is that I had to go alone. We couldn't take a dog because it would pee everywhere because your train of thought just gets messed up. If you do that, don't listen to music or anything like that. Just walk and enjoy the walk. And again, taking that dictation, a lot of times will happen. It just kinda starts this flow. And that would also happen when I was doing things like mowing the lawn or cleaning the pool or something like that, taking a shower. In my understanding, my theory anyway is that you're putting your conscious brain on autopilot basically by doing some repetitive things like taking steps or whatever. It happens on drives too as far as that goes when I'm alone and doing that repetitive, whatever it is. kind of frees your subconscious, that these things can rise up that before were beaten down by all this logical thought. And if you can set the logical thought aside by walking or by some other repetitive tasks. It is a real, real good way to get thoughts flowing. I read one of the best books I've ever read about writing years ago. And I talked about this particularly gifted students, the teacher had. And the student used to say, If only I had a floor to scrub, I'd be okay. I'd be able to think. Again, it's that repetitive physical motion that takes your logical mind out. I'm curious because you are an urban sketcher and you've talked so greatly about nature and how is the urban landscape inspiring you? I mean, it's almost the center of attention, right, for you. How does that work? Yeah. That's a really good question. When I was in university and then later in professional life Our teachers felt that it was really, really important if we were ever going to get out of South Louisiana for us to see the world and really to see where great landscape architecture and urban design occurred. And so we went up the West Coast of the United States to all the great cities. Of course, we went across the desert to get there and everything which was fascinating in its own right. But San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, back across to. Yosemite and Tahoe and those types of things to see what was really going on to visit offices and talk to those people. In the next year, we had to do the same thing for the East Coast and go to New York, all the way up, New England, Washington DC, those types of things. And I just fell in love with cities. I had this epiphany in San Francisco when I saw somehow they had done old warehouse district and adaptively reuse them. And to really, really active people places they called "adaptive reuse". And I said that's what I wanna do with the rest of my life. And that's what I did for about 35 years of it. But eventually the drawing eclipsed everything else. And it was just such a joy that continuing that drawing of cities is just a very natural thing to keep doing. Only people were inviting me to come to their country or to come to their university or whatever it was. Gosh, I feel lucky to have fallen into that position. Yeah, it sounds like the city is also a big source of inspiration for you. Hugely, hugely. And one of the downsides of traveling a lot when you're young is that you see the world through different eyes. Now, you don't see it necessarily, especially when you come back home as it is. You see it as it could be. You know, because you've seen how they do things in Paris and you've seen how they do things in London and in Rome and whatnot. And you come back to some little town in Texas that's been built by civil engineers. And it's like "We can do better than this!" that is the way the city fueled a lot of my design work. And I just never got over that original feeling of falling in love with the energy of place as much as anything. And by energy, I mean the city life and people interacting with each other and going about their daily business, but also festivals and Plaza life and that type of thing. I just can't get enough of it and I still can't. It comes through in the drawings too, I think there's typically what I choose to draw. And you'll almost never see a drawing of mine without a lot of people in it. I'm not necessarily trying to draw likenesses of people. I'm trying to get that energy of the crowd and let others feel bad, you know, try to do it in such a way that they pick up on it, that they can feel it. And maybe they'll want to go and maybe they will want to take a sketch book. And you know, that's a pretty beautiful thing, makes you look at a city in a whole different way. It's interesting because as an architect, whenever I had to render, because we sketched but very little, we did a lot more computer work. It was more like: don't put any people into this space. Make it look clean and nice. And you are like: people! This is the most important thing. Talk to me about that. How is that? How has that become the center of your sketching attention? Well, I think for one thing, as a landscape architect, we're not necessarily looking at the facades and the mass and things like that, except as how they shaped outdoor space, whether it's urban or whether it's a college campus or whatnot. So how can we arrange those things such that you've got these great spaces and the only point of having those spaces, it's not to be a foreground for architecture, is for people to gather and it's for them, to trade ideas with each other and have conversations and understand each other better. And the way that I was taught, that was the whole point of what we were doing. It wasn't necessarily to do something beautiful. It was to create a place that kind of nurtured the human spirit, could help collectively and even individual people to reach their own heights in terms of creativity, intelligence, physical, stature, and spiritually too. The environment plays off with that. And whether you feel lifted up or beaten down. And that was always the driving force. If you peel all the layers back with me, That's what's at the bottom. Are there any last words from your your side that you would like to add to this call? Have I left any questions out? I don t think you've left out any questions. I will say this. I talked very briefly about my wife's role in all this. And, you know, we're we're literally partners in all of this. And, you know, she she as I said, handles all the things that I'm not I was going to say I'm not interested in, but I said I'm not good at that stuff. And it's like child's play for her. But then I'll also get her to copy, read whatever I'm writing at the time. And she's become a really great writer. She'd become a great photographer. She followsand documents, the workshops and whatnot. So to say that I wouldn't be able to do any of this without her as an understatement. So I'll just put that out there. The role of a good partner in the process of creativity is very important. I agree. It's a pleasure talking to you Richard. This was such a good call. We should definitely repeat this again. If you have time. This was such a good call. I really, really enjoyed talking to you. Thank you. It's been my honor.Bye Jim. Bye-bye. 10. The Watercolour Artist: Okay, I'm grateful for the vegetable peeler. Okay, Great. Yeah, That's all we need. Okay. Goodnight you can go to bed now. I'm Elise. I'm Norwegian and I currently live just outside of Paris because this is where I work and live and I've been here for 4.5 years more or less now. And this is my workspace. I'm a watercolor artist and the past year-and-a-half and online educator as well. I have my classes teaching mostly watercolor and then maybe expanding one day. But it works in this space because I have, most of my work is quite small. For now. If not, I like go out to the floor, but this kind of workspace size fits me quite well. And also, this is not my full-time job. I have my full-time job as a performer and dancer here in France. And so this is on top of that. So that also kind of limits a bit of the time and I need it to be quick and easy to get started quickly. So it's not, I don't spend a lot of time setting up my workspace, which is why I really enjoy having this foldable desk where I can leave unfinished things as well. So yes, it's on the side of another full-time job. It's a creative side hustle to another creative side hustle. Or a creative full-time hustle? Exactly. Yeah. So I got 200% hustle type of situation. And I seem to do this. It's like I had dancing as my hobby and then I turned it into my career. And than I was like, well, theatre is also fun and then that also kind of stacked on top of the career. And then it's like, well, I guess I should do something for my hobby. Guess what painting ended up being? So now I'm like, I'm going to start gardening. I have a tiny balcony and that couldn't be my hobby hobby. I will have no money-related to that. Try to grow little carrots and spices or something. I'm pretty sure you could turn that into a career as well, but... I've probably jinxed it now... This will be the next one. That sounds really wonderful. What kind of dancing do you do? I'd love to understand how your creative life happens at the moment. Well, this is, I work for Disneyland. I work in the performance department. Wow! So in the parades, I'm a dancer there. And also when you're in that, you also take care of the characters and there's a lot of service and meeting people speaking French speaking English trying to speak Spanish, which is just me filling in words, I don t know with the English or French with a Spanish accent. And there's a lot of colors and magic and people and sound. And I think maybe because watercolor is kind of soft and soothing and slow, and I don't know if that's why I also like working monochrome, like just working with watercolor. It's a bit of... it's just for me. It's not like on stage performing for someone else. It's just I'm just going and than it has turned into something for someone else but kind of inviting them in instead of going out in the same way. So I think they balance each other out nicely with being extroverted external entertainment and then watercolour kind of, okay. This is, this is something else. This is something still, even though it's turned into more of a service for others, teaching, bringing other people with me. It still feels like something that fills me up in a different way than my normal, my normal job, which is not very normal. But now that painting has become a job in its own sense, do you find that you resist to paint when you, when you come to painting, especially maybe it's a commissions or maybe it's a class that you need to finish. Do you find yourself procrastinating? Has it become a little bit less fun now that it is more of a job or do you still find the excitement about it? Yeah, I think it varies a little bit. I think there's definitely a part of me that's like trying to kind of move it into a business realm. But I also, while having it as a business, I want it to be fueled by me having fun with it. I want it to be something that I genuinely have in my life and not just like I'm gonna make this class, this is how you paint this thing. Have fun, but then I'm not having fun. I wanted to teach the things that I find fun and that I genuinely do myself so that I have an art business fueled by art and not an art business fueled by money or what I think will work or what I think other people might like. Yeah, I find that I am much more motivated to do something if I can find the fun part about it. Do you find this as well? 100%. And this is, apparently I need to stop talking about this book because people have been like, yeah, you've recommended this like four times now. It's called "Finish" by Jon Acuff. I'm reading it for the second time and I recommend it to everyone I know. I bought it for my stepdad and he never finished it. So I borrowed it. I read it in like three days and I was like: Oh my gosh! I love it!" And he talks about how perfectionism loves making things difficult and hard and like only the difficult, hard, boring, annoying things count only the goals that are running in the rain and only eating something you don't want to eat and only hard, difficult goals count. Oh, that was just a Zumba class. That didn't count as exercise. Or this was just a painting that I found easy and fun. So I guess it isn't valuable. And this is a bit of impostor syndrome as well. I guess everyone else finds this easy. So my... like the value of this isn't as high if I find it easy. Or that we shouldn't get paid for something that's easy or we shouldn't get compensated for. Because this is something I can sometimes feel with having a creative job and an extra creative job of like, But you love dancing and you think painting is fun. Don't you just wanna do it for the love of the art? And this kind of misconception that we shouldn't get paid. And then still actors and actresses and musicians are super well-paid doing something that they love because they're really good at it. But they're doing the things that they're automatically good at. I think, I think if someone asked a musician who does a certain style to do another style, they wouldn't have fun with it and they wouldn't have... or play different instruments or play a different band. I think finding what's fun for you will keep you motivated. I'd love to go now to your environment because I can see your workspace and I think it looks amazing. I want to, I'm sure I'm sure you're the one who designed it, right? You brought in all the furniture and all that. So I'm curious, when you designed it, what elements were important to you in the design of your workspace? For me, it was important that it wasn't in the normal part of the home. Which one? Not just in the living room, where my desk used to be. Okay. And then because I had a carpeted floor in my bedroom before in the apartment I lived in before this one, which is when I got this desk, I couldn't put it in and I was worried that if I lost a brush full of paint on the floor, it would be impossible to get out. So I had it in the living room and I didn't feel as free to create, I felt like something isomeone I lived with would come like look over my shoulder and see what I was doing. Or if I had a meeting or a Zoom paint together, something I didn't feel as free to be me and explore and play and make something that maybe it wasn't very nice-looking It'd be like, I'm just painting beautiful thing always, it felt a bit watched. So for me it was really nice to then get it into my room. This is my bedroom. But the computer is standing on the bed right now. This corner.I turned this zone into the creative zone. So if I'd have businessy things, even if it has to do with painting or if it's a meeting, I tried to do it in the living room. So this place is only like painting, painting. And what's nice is this one closes up. So I could if something's unfinished, I could leave it and close the door, but then it's ready to start immediately when I come back to it. Because I have this other job, It's nice to get started quite quickly. And I have everything I need available and then I have there's storage underneath. which has a bit of a backup. But what was important was also was to make it as easy as possible to get started. I have things within reach. I don't know If you can see but I've hung up a pair of scissors and I've hung up a tape. I've hung up, some brushes and the things I use most often, I have my paper available on the side and I kind of tried to organize it so that I can sit here and reach everything I need without having to get up or go somewhere else. Because when I just started painting, I had it in a box and I'd have to take it out, put it on the dining room table or on the floor and then pack everything away when I was finished. And it just made the threshold of starting a bit like...well, it's a bit of work to get started. So I don t think I'll paint today because I know it's just that extra obstacle of getting started and then knowing that I had to put everything away afterwards, or find a place for something like...yeah, this needs to dry afterwards. I don't know where to put it. So now kind of having a designated space for all of that is really, really nice. So I think access was very important. And then I have these lovely peg boards so getting things up and having them visual so I can see them. Yeah. That was like the technical aspects that I really wanted and having things available. And the second part was kind of surrounding myself with things that confirmed that I was an artist. So design wise, I have some paintings that I have done, and I have some paintings that other people have done. And it just kinda, when I see them, I'm like Oh Yeah, Yeah, I'm an artist and I invest it in other people's art and I have artist friends. And I know how to take care of plants. So this is a real plant. I have like a candle and I have some presents like the little brush rest that looks like a dog from a friend. I have tried to make this a place where I'm surrounded by proof of what I'm doing. So it's not like an empty table with a normal chair and a normal like where everything is hidden. So I also like having all of this visual proof of what the space means and what it does and what I do here and who I am. When I sit down here. Yeah, it feels very like we belong together. This is telling me a lot about who I am. I think I read in a book that 10 million of our 11 million receptors of information is visual as humans. So things we see give us a lot of information. So I'm like, Okay, what I can see from this space is that I'm painting and I love watercolor and I love plants, and I invested in myself, so I bought this lamp, and I can have these I have proof, like visual evidence of who I am and what I'm doing. And then I kind of, it keeps reinforcing that every time I sit down, like Oh yeah! I am an artist, I'm a teacher. I know what I'm doing. It's interesting that you bring up identity because I was reading actually in a book, that one of the ways you can motivate someone to do something long-term It's not so much to use the willpower, but to use this power of identity. I am someone who works out, who always, is always honest you know, when you affirm that about your identity then the actions come only to support that. And I find it interesting that you use your space to affirm your identity as a water colorist and to continue to perform what do you have created as an identity for yourself. I find that really fascinating. Yeah, absolutely. I think, yeah, I think you're right. And I, I read about this. This is like one of my favorite writers how humans work and how our brains work and changing habits, kind of understanding how we work. Because I've also read about this and how what we see around us designing our environment, which James Clear talks about in Atomic Habits. Put that glass of water next to your bed so you can see it. And then you will start getting the habit of having a glass of water when you wake up. But if you put it in the closet and you don't see it, the information and it's gone and then you have to remember that it's there and then it takes more effort, can make it effortless to do the things you want to do and to be the person you want to be. And I think this helps me. It’s easier, to be the person I want to be because it's already there. It's already it's easier for me to just sit down. And then because you sent me these questions, I was looking at it. I was like, yeah, there's some fun information here as well like this stick that I have here. Just wanted to ask you what that is. I wasn't sure if it's a cable. It's just a stick that I found. And I thought it was a funny one because it has this very strange unnatural 90-degree angle. Yeah. This is just, and I picked it on a vacation, a little trip down to a forest with my, with my love. And I brought it home and I figured I'm the kind of person who picks up sticks from the ground. And I always have been… And like nice rocks and stuff. And then I have, which I think I'll send you a close up of. Llike here, I kind of made myself drawers from shoe box lids so I can reach the bottom of what's in these little shelves. So I'm like, you're a creative person. You are good at finding solutions with Things. And this thread around here, because this black chair keeps making marks on my wall when it goes back to post. So I've just put some cushioning with some thread. And it's such a tiny thing because…yeah… Remember that you're good at finding solutions? Remember that when there's a challenge, you know how to fix it or you can find something to make it easier, make it better? Yeah. And also the fact that these plants are alive because I thought I couldn't have plants. So these are quite new and they've been alive for a long time. Why couldn't you have plants before? I had fake plants . This one is a fake plant. This one hanging here. But yeah, I just, I had this idea that I couldn't have plants. And I think the plants are also a bit of like, remember how you said you couldn't do this and you can? So the next time I say I can't do something. Maybe I can! So I think if you have something that you can put in your creative space to be like, remember how you've fixed that thing once? Are you remember how you did that thing that you thought was really difficult or overcome something? Maybe you have an award from something? Maybe you have a letter from someone who loves you and believes in you and you're like, oh yeah, I have someone on my side or whatever, it might be something important to you. I have a tiny note with my core values written and put up here. Show me the note! This one, like up there, that one. It's just a small one over some paintings that I like and another plant and the little bird house and this very funny pigeon with a piece of bread over its head. What does it say? The core values one? This was a difficult class. Remember how you can do hard things? And that the best is yet to come? Of course the best is yet to come. We can't, we haven't already done our best. What if we had how boring is that? We’ve gone to out max! I’m just going to climb on top of this stair. So now you see the top view. I'm very excited about this vertical real estate which I have learned as a concept. Just this tiny note from a course that I did, which is on the back of a painting that did not work out and I made monster size birds. And it says joy, community, kindness, meaningful and optimism. And it was a whole page of values. And the task was to cross off everything that resonated, everything you thought. Like, Oh yeah, this is important to me and this is important to me. And then it was to narrow it down to five. And kind of thinking, okay, well, what's the difference between, what's the difference between joy and fun? What's the difference between friendship and community? What's the difference between kindness and compassion? And it’s…I’m going to sit back down again. Yeah. So if I'm like, Okay, am I doing this thing? This is in line with who I am? Is it meaningful? Is it kind, does it bring me joy? It's again like the visual reminder of like okay, if something feels difficult or challenging and like okay, but I'm doing it because this is what's important at the end of this. This is the kind of life I wanted to have. These are the things I want to fuel, the things that I do. It is just another another visual reminder. Yeah. So like if you can write little notes to yourself, like something you've accomplished or something you made that you're proud of. I think that can really help in the creative space to kind of keep you moving forward or keep boosting again with like you said, the identity and keep confirming that I am doing the thing I said I would do, I can trust myself to do the things I say. Yeah. Or I am loved or I’m strong, or I am… This is my favorite smell or whatever it might be. You always bringing things that you just don't expect to be there. But I loved that your personality shines through. And I can see that also in your space. That's really sweet and lovely. And I find that surprising that you, maybe not so surprising, but I'm surprised that you, that you're always so conscious about the things you do and you filter them through your core values. That at the end of the day, this has to be done because this is what I said I am, these are my values. I mean, this doesn't always happen. I did stay up until two in the morning watching The Home Edit iand not a painting that day. So but yeah, I think it's definitely helped and I journal a lot on extra journals. I think it’s something about seeing it on paper has also been helpful. So yeah. Tell me more about this journaling. When does it happen and why does it happen? It happens. A long time ago Okay. And this is also like talking about looking Backwards… to me like this is why this makes sense. There's something called “the negativity bias” which humans have, which is that it's much easier for us to remember negative things that happened and bad things that happened. So even if you get a 100 nice comments Of…oh! your dress is so beautiful, if someone's like, that's not really a good color on you, That's the only one you'll remember. Even if it's not even super mean or something terrible and bad and it's just, we're hard-wired to avoid things that don't feel good. So we'll only remember the bad comments because that's how we survived as cave people. It’s like it doesn't really matter that I remember all of these hundreds of berries that are edible because I really, really need to remember this one that's poisonous. So that's the one I'm going to remember the most. Because my friend died when he ate that. And I think I was kind of sensing that in myself in college. Actually, it was just like 12 years ago. And I think it was Oprah who was talking about like a gratitude journal. And I was like, Okay, I'll do that. And gratitude sounds a bit posh. So I'm just going to call it a positivity book. I'm just going to write down anything. I like, anything that makes me smile, anything that I noticed that's Like…Ahhh! four red cars in a row, nice, or I like melted cheese. And it could be so stupid and small. But I was like, Okay, what happened when I knew I had to iwrite it down I was constantly looking for it. I was like, huh, I wonder what I’ll Write down today. Looking for good things so I had something to write. I think that changed the filter. The filter in which we look at the world if someone's like, okay, go into this town, when you go on vacation, Make sure you look for … Can you count like how many blue houses there are? And then you look for the blue house and then afterwards, if I ask how many yellow houses were there? I don't know. I wasn't looking for yellow houses, have looking for blue houses And they were 16. Then you have a different focus. And if your focus is on the things that are good and the things that you can do and the things that are valuable and nice and important and that confirm that you were doing the right thing or that you're a good person or whatever you might want to confirm. That's what you'll find. You'll find the proof that you look for. Kind of theory, which I really enjoy. I tried to put on other people as well. Yeah. And then I stopped for a while and then we did another exercise with the choreographer that we had. We did the morning pages that Julia Cameron talks about and “The artist way” just like a very popular artist creative book. But three whole pages for me is a lot like I'm not going to get up early morning. I have so many things that I also want to do and I'm like, I would like to meditate, I would like to do this and… the list, gets, gets so long. The things that… this is the only thing you need to do. But you're like the 50th person to say that this is super important. But I do think it helps me to journal even if it's just one sentence. So often it happens in the morning. I set a timer for ten minutes. And sometimes I'm super slow in my mind wanders. I'm like, Oh, that was four sentences. And sometimes It's a full page and sometimes I'm like, okay, this is a fun thought. I'm going to see what this is. And it's just kind of checking in with what's in my brain. So I tried to do it every day. Sometimes I bring it to work. If I know I have a long break and sometimes it's just at night before bed. And this was also this kind of off the creative space topic. And I talked about this in a newsletter in my stories about, again, like retraining our brains and affirmations. Sometimes I feel like affirmations are a bit fuzzy and a bit like woohoo of like manifest the I don't know, it feels a bit out there. So I've been in…okay… The end of every journal entry and I've just started the conscious habit in September, so it's been about seven months maybe. I'm trying to write every single day. And at the end of every single entry, I write…(Norwegian expression) Which in Norwegian means it's our kind of casual way of saying, I love you, or I love me, but it's kinda of I care about me, like I matter to me. So it's something you would say to a friend. It's not like “I love you, Let's marry.” It's more of the like. Okay, bye, love you. See you tomorrow. It's very it's kinda casual. There's just like, Yeah, I do. I love me. You're doing great or something like a bit of like a confirmation. So yeah, just just having that as a habit also, again, you see it and you write it and it puts it in your mind. You're likely, I’m a person who cares about myself. So I'll do things that I would do for someone I care about. I would do for a friend or my mom or from my sister or for my dad, Or for me, whoever it might be. And it's very casual and sometimes it's just absolute nonsense is sometimes it's a list and sometimes it's just sometimes make little star and it's like this is an interruption of another thought that comes up. I feel like it's a really nice tool of just not always having everything in my head. Because I have…I’m adding my tools in… and I have a gratitude app that I use. Like I didn't have the positivity book for awhile. And then my journaling is just kinda dumping space, but I have a specific… It's called “presently” it's free. And that also has questions. It's just a gratitude at the end of the day, like today, I was grateful for blank and it has some helpful questions if you're like nothing. I was grateful for absolutely nothing. It has questions to help prompt, it is like, is there a tool you're grateful for? Is there person you're grateful for or someone's help or something in your town or something in your house? It's like, yeah. Okay. I'm grateful for the vegetable peeler. Okay. Great. Yeah. That's all we need. Okay. Goodnight. You can go to bed now. You found one thing or like, I'm grateful this day is over and I can go to bed. I'm grateful I have a bed. Okay. That's enough. That's fine. You have shifted your focus. Doesn't take very much. I love that, we've gotten carried away. I carried away the conversation, A little bit too far. I wanted to bring it back to talking about your space. So you showed me the little items. You also talked about actually separating iyour workspace. So when you paint, you paint in in your painting workspace, but when you do other things like bookkeeping or whatever, you do it in the living room. I find this really fascinating that you don't want to tarnish your painting area. with this other types of work talk to me about that, Why doesn't it work in the same space? I think, I think associations to spaces can be really strong. This is just like a list of me listing all the things I do. I volunteer for an emergency hotline so people who don't have anyone to talk to you who can call for free and talk to someone. And it's a Norwegian service and I think it's okay, like sharing that here. But it's usually in a physical space and they've recently because of COVID, they translated, they transition into digital and Home Office of Digital workroom. So we're still with someone. We still Meet in a digital meeting. But they were really like, okay how can make this work at home when the conversations that you'll have are really heavy and really they can be super serious. You might have to call 911 for someone who's about to hurt themselves or are in a situation that's really painful to hear about. And for those memories and those stories to not get stuck with me and width with anyone who's working with it. There's been a lot of conversations around how can I separate that when I'm not separated in space, I don't go to an office to do that. And then I kinda leave it and then I go home. I'm in a different space. If it has to happen in the same space. So having kind of rituals around where I do the things that I do has really helped So my ritual is that here only painting happens. And the ritual is that bookkeeping and the memories and the frustration maybe up like French paperwork, which is my favorite, can happen somewhere Else, it can happen in a space where other things happened. And also because it's the bedroom, I try to keep traumatic things outside… so I also tried to do those calls and I have a specific part of the table, the kitchen table, where I do that though, that is my office and I light a candle, that I only light for those things. It's like now I'm at work. Now it's this thing that's happening and it contains it. So I think here I can contain my painting even though it can spread. I usually bring it back here and they don't bring anything else into this. So say I had a dramatic phone call for something that I thought would be really, really, really hard or difficult conversations. I would try not to have it, for example, in my painting space or for example, like lying down on my bed, bringing that into somewhere where I would like to be a peaceful place where I sleep. Like what thing happen where so the Home Edit italks about this, which is why it's in my brain. They talk about zones of like just for organizing. Who talks about it? Atomic Habits, or? Atomic Habits too… I think maybe talk about it, but it's more like the organization of space. So the Home Edit, It's all there. It's like organizing your home. Okay. And they do a lot of sorting after rainbow color which I also really like. But yeah, I think having a bit of separation between things that feel very different. I think I could do it here and it doesn't If I accidentally like if I sit and I have a Zoom meeting from somewhere and I paint and then I also checked my email and I also do something. It's not a big deal. But sometimes I get kinda like okay, now it's business time. I'm gonna get my little paperwork thing. We're going to get my bank id cold thing because I'm checking something and paying a bill for example, or, um, it feels it feels a bit different. It's like putting on my normal adult workloads instead of working in pajamas, for example. Those feel, they feel different. They feel different on my body and they feel different because I can see, I can see what I'm wearing. Now I feel very artisty with a black turtle neck It just feels extra painter. Actually a lot of creative people use is black, so don’t Don't feel… But I love your skirt. It looks amazing. So colourful! It has pockets. I love skirts with pockets, they're the best. Me too. And it has actually like, it has a watercolour pattern or is, it feels very painterly because we went to the museum,. Ach! An opportunity to wear a skirt. I think that can also help with setting the mood of like now I am concentrated because I'm in this space. Now, some creative painting, Look at this nice painting space. And that happens here. And then I have my bed with too many pillows, someone said once, It's not, It’s just five, relaxing space. I have my book next to me. I think. Yeah. I do get very like from what I see around me, There's a, I haven't read this book, but it's called “Outer order, inner calm.” And I'm like, I think I Agree. “Outer order, inner calm.” Interesting. Like yeah, so what you see around you doesn't become like a to do list. Like you're kind of painting. I see I need to do this. There's so much, so much on the floor and it can occupy you a little bit. So for me, at least having not a perfect space, not like a minimalistic space. I think, I think there's a lot of things here, but I also yeah. I think it informs me of what happens in this place. I have a question for you, looking at your wonderful workspace. If I were to take something, just one thing, if I were to take one thing away from it. What item would you point to that would most likely affect your creativity in a negative way. Like what is the one thing that impacts your creativity the most would you say? If I were to take one item, which one would you miss the most? That's a great question. The first thing I thought was the desk, of course like if you took it in, my supplies were just on the floor. Like if I didn't have a surface. Oh, good question. I also really like this lamp. It's like a phone holder thing at the top. It's a ring light and it has three different colors. So even if it's the middle of winter or like rainy, stormy day and there's no daylight. This makes it possible for me to paint at night and see the colors properly. So I think I would really notice if that went missing because the bedroom light like the ceiling like is quite warm and yeah it isn’t bright enough. I think I would notice if the lamp was gone or I mean, I'm right next to the window. There's the balcony, so I get a lot of nice daylight. This is the gardening getting ready for spring. Ready to get my herbs. But I think if the light is something important, I think if you took away the lamp or the access to daylight, I think it would be more difficult to be creative because I wouldn't be able to see my colors properly and I would like struggled to also because I paint small. Usually, I'm like, I don't I don't see my brushes. I don't see how much paint is on my brush. I don't see if it's clean. I think light is very important. That being said, of course, my tools, like if you ran away with all my brushes. But yeah. It's interesting. Besides your workspace, do you work anywhere else on other topics? Where do you get strikes of creativity? What are those spaces or places that help you be creative? I don't know if it helps me be creative, but I do sometimes work at work, which is usually an active job when I'm outside, but I have the schedule is quite flexible and has some spaces for preparation and stuff and lunch breaks. And if I need to, I can work at work and then it's nice to go upstairs. There's some office that are available for us. There's computers, but I'll bring my laptop and kind of see like, oh, I mean, the office space. What I see around me is office things, so I be able to do office tasks. But what I've done lately and I don't do it very often. But sometimes just bringing my laptop or bringing a book. I don't often paint elsewhere, but I do sometimes bring the other parts like the editing parts or writing a newsletter, for example, something like that, or even journaling like the answering your questions yesterday, I took myself to a cafe and kind of sitting with I've treated myself to a coffee like I'm out and about around people, but I get to decide where I work and finding myself space in a little table and like a window. And I think again with like, who am I and who do I want to be in? What do I like and what feels nice and what feels like a treat. I still get this get this work done. For the work part. I think moving it out of the house feels nice sometimes because then I also can like… I guess I'll just also a vacuum a little and put on laundry and oh This needs to be fixed and then I don't get distracted by anything else. I've been focusing on my, on the thing that I needed to do. But for painting, I usually don't go elsewhere. I do sometimes paint on the floor, sometimes on the living room and kitchen table. But yeah, mostly do my painting painting here. Although I have a pretty strong daily habit of painting. So I have a little travel set and it just looks like a little toiletry bag. And I have a tiny watercolor palette and some postcards and travel brush that has water inside. And it's really easy to just do something because my habit is brush to paper. Whatever that might mean and sometimes it's this brush, brush to paper done. That was it. That's the criteria. Then in the middle, I’m literally in the middle right now of a 100 day project, which is in this box, which is I do when painting every day. So my minimum is five-minutes from a photo I've taken the same day or a memory, Like yesterday, this beautiful of me cutting my own bangs with the kitchen scissors. And sometimes I don't have time for five-minutes or I don't have the energy for Five and than I do one. Sometimes I don't have the energy for one, and I do brush to paper. Then I could do it another day. And sometimes I don't even have that when I was sick and I was like, yeah, this is me being sick. Apparently this is what I felt like when I'm sick. So yeah if I have to travel, I will but I don't enjoy it as much. I don't feel the same way for some reason when I bring my paints elsewhere, I do like to sit down and have my jars of water and have all my brushes. And even though I don't use all of them, I like having them available for me and have all my paints and all my colors, even though I use this one brush and just my indigo. But this thing I'm just sitting here not being in a drawer or somewhere else. Right there makes it easier to get started. So I do try to bring my paints if I'm going somewhere on a holiday or visiting someone, we're going home to Norway. But I don't love painting on the go. I do like to sit at my desk or sits somewhere. It sounds like your space is also a way to ground you somehow to give you that safety that you can paint whatever. That nobody is watching that, or? Yeah. No. For sure. And I think yeah, I think you're right. I think it does ground me. I think it does feel very safe because I know what's here. So if I'm like, oh, I wish I'd brought that color. It's like no! Here it is. Every single one of your paints, you have every single option of paper and size of paper and have all of your brushes, we have all of your supplies, even though I won't need them. And even though I'm sure I could paint fine with this brand of indigo over this brand of indigo. There's something about having all of it. I'm like, I don't know. It's like a bubble almost like I feel surrounded by my tools and my paints and I am a bit of a colle 11. The Brand Strategist: It's a phrase in Latin that says "Solvitur Ambulando", which means it resolves itself by walking. Yeah, So my name is Leiry, I'm a graphic designer. In specifically doing brand identity design for brands who work in innovative ways with nature. I live in Iceland. So it's really like the place to do that since they're very known for using renewable energy and all that stuff. So I really love that. I'm currently living in the West of Iceland, which is kind of a remote area of the country. Not many people come here, but it's very beautiful and they're also trying to promote a lot of remote working. So people who want to disconnect, come here and just enjoy the nature, so that photo that you shared is actually the co-working space. I'm usually going to but it's kind of like the co-working space around here. It's called the Blue Bank. If anybody wants to visit it. It's very nice and people are always surprised at how much they can just focus in the middle of nowhere looking at that insane nature because it's very raw nature that you get in general in Iceland. But also here it's, the nature is just so raw and in your face and kind of like humbles you in a way. So a lot of people have been coming here and now with that co-working spaces, now even more possible to do so because you come, you get a nice community of entrepreneurs, innovators. And so I think that's what's unique about that place. But also sometimes work from my living room because it's also a very cozy and I can just have a few friends over and we cowork and whenever I need to, I can head to the co-working space as well. Do you work a lot there or where do you feel more comfortable in working? Is it your home or that co-working space? It's it's the combination of both that makes me feel the best. Because here in the morning, I love taking my time. I love doing my coffee. It's like a ritual for me doing my really nice breakfast. So I obviously want to be here in my home where I have like good lighting, a good sound system, good screens, and nice couch. But then when I'm feeling like I want to share my ideas or be more social really, then that's when I head to the co-working space. And I also get very inspired because it has obviously such a nice view of nature. And you kinda see the boats arriving and everything. It makes me focus like having that beautiful visuals, but also that quiet makes me really want to focus. So it's the combination of both. Is there anything else about the design of that space that you feel particularly helps you? Is it just a big windows or is it, Is it there, is there more? I think it's really the view. The view and that it's like it's a second floor, so it's from above. So it gives you perspective. And the perspective makes me feel very inspired and alive, kinda make me, makes me feel alive. When I'm there, I'm like looking at ocean, looking at the big mountains. And it gives me a perspective and it makes me feel very inspired. I mean, you said Iceland or at least area where you are, nature's is everywhere. It's quite remote. So I would assume that other places give you that kind of perspective, maybe including your home. Why is this different? I'm curious? Yeah, it's like all over Iceland, you can find beautiful landscapes. But because this region is made of fjords, so it's like this massive mountains. And like a lot of people feel inspired by mountains because it's fjords and there are so massive. And so I think that just gets your creativity going because it's inspiring. It's interesting that you put so much emphasis on nature. And in fact, there are quite a few scientific studies showing that nature is the one thing, or is it one of the things that really helps people focus or be creative. I'm curious why that works with you. Can you concentrate in cities or are you always looking for nature views to help you focus? Is it more that you have to be quiet in those spaces? How does this work with the nature aspect of it? So the village itself that the co-working spaces located in has been throughout time very creative. So there's a lot of people, international people who go there and yes, it's the middle of nowhere, but it's just like an inspiring place because of the landscapes and how it makes you feel. So throughout time, it has housed a lot of creative projects and people. So there's this beautiful mix of new and old. So that's kinda because the town itself has the oldest population in Iceland, but then it's still attracts all of these young entrepreneurs, remote workers. So it's like a beautiful mix and it's very unique as well. And that's kinda like the culture of the co-working space as well. Because it also happens to be a bank. That's why it's called the blue band. So every Thursday, like all the older people are going there and you get to meet them and talk to them. And it's like this beautiful mix of new and old, which I think everybody finds so nice. And you also feel a part of that community and it's very warm. Community is a huge aspect of the co-working space and the village in general. I love that people get integrated in so many different stages of life that they're not that separated. That's really fascinating. Do you live there also temporary for a creative phase or is this your home? I mean, because it's a big region, I've been kind of exploring different villages. And even though I love it there like the housing situation is difficult. So right now I'm living in another village that is 20 minutes away. But it's still the same landscape is very similar. But there's public transportation, there's busses. So I usually go to a co-working space there. Tell me about your home working space. How does that support your creativity besides the fact that you take your time in the morning to do your coffee, to have your nice couch. What else about your own space supports your creativity? I feel in this space in particular, because it's a house we're renting and we're kind of making it into a co- living co-working space. So it's four people renting it and we'll work from here, will live here. And it's very nice. I mean, you can customize the lights so they're not as harsh or just however you prefer them. So that's very nice. Also just like the space I'm here at a desk, but I can switch in-between spaces. And just having a lot of space is so nice. The lights as well. It's very nice. It's super bright, super spacious. It's all white, so that's also very, very nice. There's a good sound system, which for me it's very important because I love listening to music and that's also a fundamental part of my creative process. Yeah, I mean, it's just like this little details, like good screen, good sound, good lights,a lot of space. I know that Iceland is so far north, you must have , I know you have really long days in summer and, very, very short ones in winter. How do you, how does that affect your work? This light fluctuation? A lot actually, especially in the winter. I try to work less during November and December because they're the darkest months. And it really does affect me. And just like in that type of work that I'm doing, I just lose a little bit of focus as well. And that's why it's so many people travel and get out during the harshest months because it can be really harsh. So specifically this year I spent a whole winter here and I did notice a significant it affected me a lot on my focus and just my ability to work, and during the summer It's the other way around. It's like you have so much energy. Everybody just wants to hang out. Nobody wants to work. Two reasons not to work. either too much light or not enough light. You have to have really good curtains because otherwise you can't sleep and yeah, yeah, I can imagine. I was reading an article about this seasonal depression. Seasonal depression, yeah. And they were saying that actually in the nordic countries people are not as affected by this because it's not necessarily darkness, but it's more like a blue light. Like a blue season. The light is strange. I've been to Norway but in August, so I don't know. I can't relate. For sure people are affected. I don't think not one person is not affected like everybody is affected. And there's things you can do. You can take supplements which everybody has to. You can do some like artificial light that you place in front of yourself and do 30 minutes of that. But yeah, you can see people visibly affected. It does affect you. Especially during harsh storms or something. And because it's true like it does get very blue and it's very hard not to get affected by it. So it's definitely yeah, it's true. So do you plan your work throughout the year or more in summer or more in spring and autumn and less in summer and winter. Do you go with the flow here or do force an equal rhythm all year round? I definitely don't force myself because a few years ago I tried to push through and keep going with the same rhythm. And I was living in Stockholm back then, which is still the same level of darkness in the winter. And I ended up really, really burnt out. Just because of the screen lights and everything was online because it was during the middle of COVID. It's like, I think now I've learned that the winter months are more for slow work, for example, writing or just more work that I don't have to push myself. You know, that it's not like strong deadlines or anything like that. And then like them more client work, brand ID work all of that in which I have to be talking to people a lot and be present and have deadlines and all of that, then that's like during the lighter months, like around this time? Yeah. Are you Icelandic or just living in Iceland? No, I'm from Honduras. Just the opposite. But I've been living here for seven years now. I plan to keep living here. That must have been quite a change, right? Because Honduras is like the super the light is so beautiful there and so vivid colours, right? And then you're going somewhere, which is much more muted, more layed back. It actually was a very conscious decision because I'm inspired by moody landscapes. This more like dark colors in nature and fog and all of that. And I used to love that. And in Honduras, It's always like beautiful, sunny, vibrant colors, but that's not what for me, that's not what makes me creative. I want to be like dramatic landscapes of Iceland, which a lot of people do, and that's why people move here. So yeah, in Honduras, I don t feel of course I was like creative and doing creative work, but like it's this like, moodiness and dramatic nature in Iceland that made me want to move here because of the way it makes me feel, right. So you change the place where you stay because another made you feel more creative. We're talking now about countries and not anymore about workspaces. But yeah, that's why at the beginning I was like, no, I mean, my workspace is just my laptop. But like what makes me vibrant. The outside, not the gadgets or things. You know, it's like the environment. You, are you walking a lot in nature, you use nature as your, as your inspiration. Is nature it? Or are there more things? I would say it's the main thing that gets my main inspiration because I live among it. I work with brands who somehow are inspired as well by it. Who care about sustainability and nature. Yeah, I'm a photographer as well of nature because it's what I have around me. It's just it's everything and I love it because it's like, I guess it's just so nice. It's just like I take a walk almost every single day because it's just part of an exercise of course, but also just to relax my mind and take a break. And just like... It sounds like nature is a big part of your creative process. Are there any more elements that inspire your creativity? For sure music and for sure coffee as well. Like that combination of nature, like having a view, music, Coffee. It's like if I have to work it don't feel like it. I know that's the recipe that will get me going for sure. if I could take away any of the three, which one would you find the hardest to give up? Maybe nature. Yeah. For sure. If you only had music in coffee could you still be creative? I could because I have done, you know, like when I'm like in a random place that I mean, maybe it's just a room and I still have to be creative. I still put my headphones on and like I'm able because yeah. But just like the indulgence of being in nature, it's the best. You told me that you are in kind of cool living, co-working space there. So I can imagine you didn't quite design that space for yourself, right? It was more or less given. You moved in already in 2020 or before that. I moved here to this house in November last year, 2021. Okay. So there was already clear. Okay. Now we're working from home and so the space was already rearranged for this new ability. Let's, play this exercise because you don't have a personalized working space. If you could pick any kind of working space for yourself in your home what features are you looking for that you think are going to be most supportive of your creative process. I think just like a good view, a simple table much like this one, like long, relatively large, not because I have a lot of stuff like I just because of the space, space-wise, I don't like to feel cluttered. A little bit like not so big as well, but medium-size, so it's still feel cozy, but I have a space to walk around if I want to have space for a couch as well because I don't want to be like this sitting straight up all day. Yeah. Comfortable chair. The exercise where I'm thinking like what are my absolute basics? And it's really like just a view, a nice spacious desk and chair, music, good sound system, and good food because I need it as fuel. But yeah, I think that that's those are my basics. I don't need all this Like decor or like, I really like even prefer it not to have it. But I wonder because you're a graphic designer. You must do a lot on your computer, but do you use any other mediums that support your creativity, maybe collage or painting or drawing by hand or sketching. Do you use any of these at all? Not at the moment. But I do really like writing. I really like, for example, like calligraphy. I'm learning Chinese, so I love to practice the characters on waterpaper color, and brush. That's something I've always loved that. I think that's how I got into typography when I was a kid because I've always loved words like that and just like yes, like doing the... But yeah. Because like right now, my creative outlet is mostly photography, which is outdoors. I really love that and that's my main creative outlet right now. Are there any other creative activities that you do that support your current creative activity? I mean photography, of course. I also have a podcast which I consider fun. I do it for fun. It's not like job. I'm also starting to do YouTube videos, which I'm also just doing for fun. It's not work. So it's all very around like video, photography, it sounds like your creativity is very much focused on the digital medium and that's where you are at. It makes also sense that you don't really need to personalize because you don't need tools or any other kind. Yeah, what I need is like outside. So you told me about this co-working space that you work from and your home. Are there any other places you work from? Or you enjoy working from? I mean, I love going to a cosy coffee shop in the next town. And there's a university there as well. So it's very much like a study coffee shop. There's always I go there at least once a week and just work from the coffee shop. I've always liked working from coffee shops as well. It's very nice. What does the coffee shop ambience bring to you, it't can't be the nature anymore, right? Because this is urban. I've thought about this and it's just like the movement, like seeing other people. Because like, you know, for some people, like having a distraction makes you focus more. That's why I like music helps me focus. I mean, it's a trait of ADHD as well. I don't have ADHD, but I'm very much aware that distraction makes me focus. So for example, when I'm on a train or a bus, I get super creative and focus, but it's because of the movement. And when I'm in a coffee shop, I get super focused as well because there's movement and activity around me. So I've always, always loved working from coffee shops and I'm sure a lot of people do it for the same reason. I have to push back a little bit. Let's think about it. A distraction makes you focus? Yeah. And it's like I was even listening to a lecture by a psychiatrist the other day and he was like, That's why some people have to doodle in class when they're like in class because that distraction helps them focus. Or why some people have like the TV turned on, listening to something or a podcast while they work, because the sound and distraction helps them focus. But it's a very distinct trade, but it works. Or like having a ball and you know and you are pushing it while you're talking to somebody and then you can focus. It's called a grounding element, like it grounds you so you can like focus. So it's almost like a light distraction is not like a big distraction like me talking to you, but like a light distraction, that part of your brain doesn't have to think so hard about that one thing. And so it liberates you to be a little bit more relaxed about what you're trying to solve. Yeah, that's interesting. We've talked about quite a few things. Yeah. What was the typical day look like for you? Yeah. So I wake up, I take a shower, I do my breakfast. When do you start working? About what time? So right now because it's getting lighter. I start usually around ten. You're moving with the light. In the darkest days of winter, I have to sleep until ten or 11 because yeah, it's just harsh on your body and you just have to adapt. But right now it's getting lighter and lighter. I have more energy. So usually at around ten, It's nice. In the morning. I do all my hardest work. So the stuff that needs more concentration, if I'm working on a brand id, I just do that, just design and get it done. Or if I'm having to record a podcast, I do it first thing in the morning as well. If I'm having to film a video first thing in the morning as well. So just like the hardest thing in that slot. Then I take a lunch break and I cook. And I love cooking because it just clears my mind and gives me a break. And I listened to a nice podcast or something. And then I usually go out for a walk after the lunch and then I come back and have my second coffee and then I'm doing other work that is more like e-mail or marketing or planning, stuff that is not strictly design or producing information or something. So I do all of that or just study a little bit because I'm studying Icelandic as well. So that's like kind of my study periods. And then I have dinner and just like kill. And sometimes after dinner, I take another shower because it again clears my mind. And then yeah, if I'm if I'm feeling creative, I listened to some music and do some more stuff that I find fun like editing or like doing this like Chinese brushstrokes or just whatever, editing photos I love it, or editing a video that I find fun. And that's more like night work if I feel like doing it. But when you go to this co-working space, you talked about do you go the whole day or just half a day? It's basically the same schedule, but I go around lunchtime. I'm usually there's people there, So we talked a little bit, we catch up, but then it's kind of like the same and I returned for dinner time. I think we've covered almost everything. Did I leave anything out? Is there anything else that you'd like to add to how your creative process happens? I think just like meeting a friend for coffee from time-to-time to be able to get my ideas out there. I think I don't do that enough. But just right now before our call, I did that. We were having coffee with my friend and it was so nice and we're just like helping each other and I love that. So I think I would add that like if I could go out for lunch with someone or just like sneak in coffee date, that adds so much like it puts me in a good mood and that in turn makes me creative them and happy, nice. And also you're bouncing around new ideas right? Yeah, yeah, exactly. Do the co-working space people also do that for you or not so much? Or is it just strictly business? It depends because there's not always people in the co-working space. It depends. For awhile, it's just been me go to the coworking space. There's not always people there. Oh, okay. So you also can be a little bit lonely or meditative, just you and your landscape. Yeah, I love how you being so far north impacts your creative process and you're working environment. And I can understand now why your desk was not so important because the whole setup is completely different and also how you work is focused so much on the computer. So wherever the computer goes, That's where your workspace is. In fact, I'm just trying to spend less time in my desk. Like, I don't want to be spending that much time in my desk. I just wanted to be like like doing more like outdoor stuff. Yeah. Yeah. Do you find that movement helps you your movement because you talked about movement as a reason to be able to focus better, but you find that you moving also helps you be more creative. Like when you come back from a walk, you get more ideas? Yeah, because right now it's still very snowy and windy but going out and a hike by herself in the summer, it's just like, it's amazing. Like it's a form of meditation I find with movement because it's like you're alone. You see this landscapes and just anywhere in the world that you are just like going out on a hike by herself. It's amazing. Yeah, I can imagine. And actually a lot of creative people over the years have attested to that. Yeah,Dickens and I have to look the names up. But many writers and painters have looked to ...have used walking and this repetitive movement to help them be creative. I think that's ... There's a phrase, now that you're saying that I love, it's a phrase in Latin that says "Solvitur Ambulando", which means it resolves itself by walking. Like whatever it is, it resolves itself by walking. And I love that. It's so true. Yes, it's true. When you sit still and you don't know what the problem is and then you move and you move and suddenly your head clears. Take a walk. And walking in nature must be also really amazing. Yeah. Thank you Leiry for giving me your time. I hope it was helpful. It is helpful and I think people would love to see your perspective of how you work in the North and how that affects your life and your creative process. I think that's really interesting. Yeah, people should find more about you I think . Have a great evening, I see it's still light where you are, it's completely dark here. Enjoy. Bye, bye. 12. Class Project: For the class project, I encourage you to share a photo of your workspace in the class project and resources section, add some questions or maybe some insights about the class. What ideas really resonated with you? Which ideas did you implement? What elements from your environment support your creativity? I'm looking forward to seeing your workspaces. 13. Final Thoughts: I want to end this class with a story. In 1683, the Ottoman Empire attacked Vienna, and luckily it failed. But on their way out to Turks left many coffee sacks behind. Although coffee was not a novelty in Europe at that time, this event is what brought coffee to Vienna and gave rise to the first coffee houses. Now, coffeehouses were very different back then in that you could essentially start talking to anyone in the establishment and discuss the latest news or gossip. This easse in exchanging ideas attracted not only the common folk, but also some of the smartest and most creative people of the century. In Vienna it was Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Adolf Loos, In London, it was Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Alexander Pope. The Paris coffee houses attracted people like Voltaire, Dideraux and Rousseau. This exchange of ideas gave way to the Enlightenment, the European intellectual movement that emphasized reason and individualism rather than tradition. And while you could argue that coffeehouses were the places where people met to drink coffee, the coffee alone was not a good reason to meet. The coffee back then tasted terrible even to the people of those days. But what coffee essentially did is to designate a place that allowed for the exchange of ideas, which was more valuable than the one penny people were paying for coffee. And what I want to illustrate with this story are two things: Number one is that a groundbreaking idea like The Enlightenment, was the result of the exchange of ideas with other people. We had to create the space first that would generate the amount of creativity that lead to The Enlightenment. So never underestimate the power of the space to support you in achieving your goals. Alright, I hope you enjoyed this class as much as I have. I'll see you in the next class. 14. Outro: Congratulations, you have made it to the end of the class. I hope you learn some new things and already feeling inspired to apply them. I enjoy teaching this class a lot and I can't wait to see what you have taken away from it. So I invite you to go to the Project and Resources section and share your class project with me and other students of the class. I'll make sure to give you feedback and help you on your way to comment and encourage other students on their class project will help you make some new connections on the platform. Please use the discussion section to let me know your thoughts and questions about the class. I'd love to help you clarify any concepts you do not understand. And it also helps me improve my classes so you can learn better. If you enjoyed this class. I would appreciate a review. It tells Skillshare that you liked my class and it encourages other people to discover my work. 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