4 ways minimalism can help unleash your creativity

 
 Illustration / Araki Koman

Illustration / Araki Koman

The goal of minimalism isn’t about reducing all our material possessions. In fact, minimalism is not a destination or a aim that we should work toward, but a powerful tool that can help navigate all areas of life more gracefully - beyond our home and physical space.

As an Illustrator & Designer, who relocated frequently, I've embraced minimalism as a mindset and found tremendous benefits in applying it in my creative career.

Here are 4 ways minimalism could benefit you too:

1. CLARITY & SELF AWARENESS

The magic about minimalism is that it goes beyond the material world. By decluttering and being selective about your material possessions, you'll eventually see some patterns emerging and have a clearer idea about who you are as a person - your story, values, tastes, style, favourite topics, people, places. You’ll also know more about your ‘why’  and how you’d like to design your life with a bigger picture.

This new found revelations could become invaluable sources of inspiration for your creative work and drive to keep going.

2. FOCUS & PEACE OF MIND

Many creatives suffer from self doubt and the effects of comparison in some way or another (including myself). When we are starting in a new discipline or established but lacking direction and inspiration, we tend to spend time looking at what other people are doing and slowly getting influenced by them and self-sabotaging our own work by comparing it to them.

By embracing minimalism in your creative practice, you'll become less prone to the fear of missing out (FOMO), unhealthy distractions from your peers and the outside world. Thanks to the clarity and self awareness you'll get, your anchor will be your unique identity and your guide will be your mission. There will be no one to compete with other than yourself and who you were in the past. We are all unique and there is enough for everyone. The most iconic artists we know, generally have a strong identity and vision for their life which often translates into recurring themes in their work. When used with a strong foundation, outside influences and events simply help them amplify their personal journey.

So, whenever you are creatively stuck, look at your old work, dig into what defines you, find inspiration outside your industry, travel to get some perspective and most importantly, remember why you do what you do. I can guarantee you won't jump into someone else's schedule any more after embracing these habits.

3. SPACE & MATERIAL FREEDOM 

In popular culture, there’s this idea that real artists always have a fixed studio with tons of art supplies and artworks spread all around them. For many years I felt insecure because I never knew what to buy in art supplies stores and felt most comfortable creating in tiny and cosy spaces. I was trying hard to buy and use the recommended papers, sketchbooks, pencils, brushes, paint, markers but always ended up leaving them untouched. Instead, I preferred using regular inkjet paper and pens which you could find anywhere. When I started relocating often and minimalism became part of my life, I was craving for mobility and simplicity. I became conscious about what I truly needed, from my colour palette, to my tools and space. I focused on the medium(s) that helped me best showcase my aesthetic and vision. My cherished colour palette (beige, black, earthy and pastels colours), which often comes back in my wardrobe and other possessions, became the recurring colour palette I use in my work. Everything else, I took the decision to donate it. As a result, I have a very mobile « studio » which allows me to work from anywhere - literally. Also, I don’t feel tempted to compulsively buy material I know won’t be useful in my work, which becomes quite economical in the long run.

4. CREATIVITY & STYLE

As the saying goes ‘Less is more’. The less options you have, the bigger the outcome. In your creative practice this could be translated as ‘The less options you have, the bigger your imagination’. Freeing physical and mental space in your creative practice by embracing constraint in a positive way, will help you find ways to make the most of everything you’ll do.

The niche you’ll decide to focus on, whether via a topic, colour palette, medium could seem limiting from the outside, but you’ll quickly realize that this container will force you to go deeper and with more expertise than if you were lost with many options. The other advantage of this principle is that the repetition that will occur will create a rhythm in your practice that will amplify your style and personal touch. The beauty of it all is that if you commit to this rhythm long enough, it will become such a big part of your life that it will automatically grow with you and organically evolve over time.

Who would have though that being more selective, focused, repetitive could help you become more creative?

Those were the most valuable benefits of minimalism in my creative practice. I hope they'll inspire you to express yourself in an authentic way to the world.

Which aspect(s) of minimalism do you think could have the most positive impact on your creativity?