In a technology-driven world where internet access can be constant and mobile, every waiting moment or fringe time can be filled. The word ‘busy’ is now a common adjective to describe daily life but how much time do you consume media (internet, social media, tv, movies, audiobooks, podcasts, radio etc.) versus time you spend on a hobby or being creative? Being constantly in consuming mode, you miss the opportunity to create your own entertainment and develop skills through the habit of play as a adult. If you feel life is already full to the brim and there’s no time for a creative project, know you can always choose to find time. If you can find 2 minutes, you have time to be creative. Use the fringe time – time on the edges of your main duties – to quickly make something. Tap into your creativity on the move or on the fly by setting a 2 minute timer (check out ”Experiments” from the menu for artmaking ideas).
Lack of time is a myth and busy is a choice. You can choose to make space for creativity as Jessica N. Turner in The Fringe Hoursargues “You make time for what is important to you.” And “You are never too busy to make time for what you love. It’s just a matter of prioritizing—evaluating how you spend your days and dedicating time for what you value. If something is really important to you, you will find a way to fit it into your life.”
Don’t believe the story about there not being enough time when every day is filled with fringe time moments. Decide to make something, grab 2 minutes and make it.
“Activities and passions pursued during the fringe hours make a life more beautiful and the participant feel more alive and more uniquely herself.” — Jessica N. Turner, The Fringe Hours
Facing a blank piece of paper before you’ve started making art can feel very intimidating because where do you even start? An exercise to dive straight into art-making is to use an existing piece of art and edit that instead. Cutout poems are an easy way to make new art because the basic material you can find so easily – the printed text. Austin Kleon creates newspaper blackoutsand encourages us that nothing is original. “Every new idea is just a remix or a mashup of one or two previous ideas.”
You will need: a magazine, newspapers, book, booklet or any printed material that contains text. A pencil/pen. Optional is a black marker or a scalpel and coloured paper.
Select a small section of text and scan for the words that can connect together to form a new sentence
Draw a box round the words you like and ‘cut-out’ the words you don’t need with your pen or black marker
Jeff Goins agrees that rearrangement is key for the creative mind: “There is a secret every professional artist knows that the amateurs don’t: being original is overrated. The most creative minds in the world are not especially creative; they’re just better at rearrangement.” By giving yourself constraints, you allow yourself to get more creative more easily.
A couple of variations you can try:
Use a layer of coloured paper and cut out the spaces to reveal the words – this is more time consuming than the pen method. Use window glass or light box as a surface to trace where the words, then finally scalpel cut out the boxes
Use different designs of paper as a layer or try painting paper to get a painted effect.
Start with a longer article and create a short story or beginning of a story, expanding on the idea of a poem
After some practice, a rhythm of making the poem emerges. It feels like you’ve cracked a code and you have a sense of satisfaction after finishing each poem. Because you are able to choose any combination of words, it feels like there’s no right or wrong result, just the one you end up with. Cutout poems are completely portable so can be created on the move and in ‘fringe’ times, all you need is some printed paper and a pen in your bag. It’s a quick, nourishing and creative form of ‘entertainment’ and fun and a welcomed alternative to checking your phone in any ‘waiting’ time.
“Transformation that is flattery – taking the things you’ve stolen and making them into your own thing… combine it with your own ideas and thoughts, transform it into something completely new, and then put it out into the world so that we can steal from you.” – Austin Kleon in Steal Like an Artist