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Interview with Alexis Papageorgiou

Interview with Alexis Papageorgiou

In an interview with creative Alexis Papageorgiou, one of our very own first writers (you remember him as Aloa), he talks about the advantages of everyday life creativity and tells us about how he implements it in his life. Check it out! 1. It’s a pleasure to have you here. We would like you to introduce yourself. The pleasure is all mine. My name is Alexis Papageorgiou (the easiest name to spell) - I’m a director and producer from a country called Germany. I’m self employed and mostly work in projects that involve any of my passions in life as well as traveling. That mostly means documentaries in politics, economy, science and philosophy as well as more experimental work such as music videos, art & short movies. But that could include event & project management, youth and volunteer work. Basically the right balance between working for others and working for myself. A test to create fitting images to experimental audio files turned into a very short music video underlined with the music of artist “Soosh”. The artist wrote me a mail where he expressed his gratitude. He really liked the work, which turned into a collaboration for new projects. 2. Please tell us more about the “Everyday Project”. When and why did you start it? The “Everyday Project” is a challenge I set upon myself to stay creative every day, for initially 30 days. The task: Work on whatever you like and create a piece of art every day. For me that meant: photography, photo manipulation, music, film, animation. I started in 2013 as a 30 days challenge but kept going and just finished my 180th piece. The main idea emerged from Matt Cutts’ TED TALK: Try something new for 30 days. The idea is simple: Instead of spending a huge amount of time to learn something, reduce it to a small amount of time spread over a longer period. Human are much likely to lose motivation and energy when challenged with a huge task. You want to learn spanish? "Yeah, sure, somewhen. What? Now? Puh, well I have so much things to do right now. I’ll try when I finish what im working on right now.” It turns out that small steps are more sustainable and more likely to stick. If you want to invest an hour or two a day in experiencing or subtracting a habit from your life, 30 days is just about the right amount of time to do that. Every month is used for another 30 days challenge, while this everyday project turned out to be much more than just a limited undertaking I took this picture on a journey from the greek island Corfu to Igoumenitsa with the Rollei S35 analog camera from my grandmother. I was waiting on this spot for 15 min. for someone to take the place in the middle of the picture to complete the atmosphere. An image I printed a couple of times and gave to friends to hang on the wall. I shot a picture of a beautiful flower. Being heartbroken at the moment, I felt it misrepresented my current live situation, so I edited it into a darker, more melancholic piece of art. The review was surprisingly positive so It ended up as a piece in an art exhibition of the national gallery on Corfu, Greece. 3. What’s the importance of everyday creativity? Efficiency - The brain learns and perceives new information best during small and regular activation of your braincells. Executing a new hobby everyday for just 10 minutes is a very effective way to grow. Feedback - One of the most important learnings was that I did not have to have weeks of preparation to master a new technique. I just went out and tried it, published it and got valuable feedback by sharing it on a Facebook page. Low pressure - Trying something new or challenging for 30 min everyday sounds much more compelling than a 10 hour session. You will be much more open to confront your fears and realize soon that it’s easier than you thing (which will boost your self confidence). Commitment - You are more likely to continue a habit if you implement it in your daily routine and therefore make faster results. I was shooting a music video where I followed graffiti writers during the night. One of them asked me to join him the next day to the yard to take pictures of his piece he painted on a train a day earlier. I only had my very old iPhone with me, which has a poor sensor. The lack of dynamics increased the flare of the sun which turned out to be perfect. The blur of the head added a sense of anonymity. One of my every day challenges turned around taking a HDR image every day (HDR images are pictures that consist of 3 images taken with different light settings and fusing them into one). I partnered up with a fellow photographer and went out for 3 weeks every night. 4. How did it change your life? It positively influenced my life in various aspects. But I did not expect the amount of impact it makes on other peoples lives as well. When taking portraits I sometimes printed them and gave them away as presents. Sometimes I made small documentaries about people. The extent of happiness of people was just more than rewarding. One company liked my work and hired me for a summer to do architectural photographies on a greek island. Other than that I grew upon myself. I learned new techniques, methods of working, I got better in working in teams, I got to know new people, and visited places I wouldn’t have visited otherwise. An “Everyday Project” can be an important brick in the self development journey of becoming a better person. (I recommend others to take the challenge as well). This picture is my personal favorite from a recent trip to Norway. I went up north for a seminar on project management; it felt like I was catapulted to another world. The space, the air and the general sense for living with the nature just kept me speechless. With this image I wanted to capture this very unique spirit. This is another photo of my my trip to Norway. It was a different experience to never see darkness. No matter what time it was, it was bright. I had to give this picture an extra vignette to make it feel like it’s night. Follow Alexis Papageorgiou on his public Facebook page. Join him on his journey: Everyday Project.

Thoughts on Creativity and Design Process

I will start this post off by saying that everybody is creative and for some that might come as a surprise, but I believe in the idea of creativity as a means of solving problems; the easiest and most efficient way possible. When I say easy I'm referring to the timeframe that it takes to complete the task, and efficient to how well received the work is from the target audience. But the question is what to do when we cannot come up with any good idea or the so terrified creative block. The creative process is something unique because it’s personal, we cannot teach someone how to come up with ideas but we can learn how to organize our thoughts in order to make our ideas easier to achieve in the form of a good design. At least in my opinion and let me explain why. Overflow of Inspiration We are bombarded with information all day long and even when we are sleeping we might dream and have ideas and therefore inspiration. That is good in terms of having lots of resources available but it’s really bad as well because with that amount of information it’s pretty hard to make a decision. That’s why I believe that our decisions have to be made with goals in mind and these goals alongside with a clear idea of our target audience will help us filter this avalanche of ideas and inspiration. ...designers give form to products, interiors, and visual communications, and satisfy the functional, psychological, and aesthetic needs of users... http://design.osu.edu/dept_what.html Create Constraints In order to overcome this problem it’s really important to define some constraints. If we have too much freedom again it’s hard to make a decision because it tends to fall to our personal opinion and we can't rely that everybody will like the same things we do. The book Making Ideas Happen covers this topic really well saying that in a specific research with designers, they were much more productive when they had more constraints in a project than those who had more freedom. My suggestion to creating these constraints is to fall back to the importance of having a good design briefing before starting any sketch or firing up the computer. Talk with the client, try to understand exactly what you have to do and for whom you will do it. That is key. Before starting anything I asked all questions I had and defined the constraints, that made the whole process a lot easier Try, try and try some more I've already said this in some speeches I gave, but it’s true. The only way to come up with something cool is by trying, testing, and evolving ideas. If you just wonder and never do, you will have nothing to evolve upon. It’s like the fear of the blank page. Once you start adding things to it, it's not that complicated anymore…it’s all about playing with the elements, right? Or like the inertia principle, once we get the object moving it’s hard to stop. When I was in college I had an amazing professor and he used to make us sketch at least 150 variations for a logo project, he used to say that the first ideas we have are always based on something we saw and it’s already known and popular, that’s why we did it. Only after we run out of ideas is when we will start innovating. Delivering I tend to think that the next idea will always be better, which in reality most of the times is and that’s why I had so many projects that were never finished. As I mentioned in the last post we have external factors that might make us unsure and insecure of our ideas. Now, I believe that we have to think of design as an evolving process that means once we have an idea and have gone through the creative process with the right constraints and we know that we did our best we must deliver. Once we deliver we can start thinking on improving upon it. Seth Godin mentions that he is successful because he delivers more while other people keep postponing the delivering in order to finish a master piece which might never happen. He also talks about the last minute questions before delivering what he calls the Lizard Brain calling. Amazing talk about delivering by Seth Godin You don't need to be more creative, all of you are too creative.... what you need is a quiter lizard brain... - Seth Godin" Creating something is always exciting, and having ideas is super easy that is why I am sure that everybody is extremely creative. Now the secret of success is making these ideas come true. The most comforting thing is that we start a project with at least 50% chance to succeed without even doing anything. Now try to imagine if we give it our best, how much that percentage would chance in our favor. Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

2010: A Creative Year

Another year is closing and a new one is on the way. The start of every new year is filled with planning and goals for the next 365 days that follow. It's not any different for me. I have some crazy resolutions for the next 12 months, and I believe 2010 will be a creative year. One for the books. I was reading some articles online. One in particular was a really interesting post by Mike Kuz (one of my favorite designers) for 24ways.org called a New Year’s resolution, where he talks about trying more and not limiting yourself to the web when designing for the web. “A key factor in creating something original and fresh for the web is to stop thinking in terms of web design. The first thing we need to do is forget the notion of headers, footers, side bars etc. A website doesn’t necessarily need any of these, so even before we’ve started we’ve already limited our design possibilities by thinking in these very conventional and generally accepted web terms.” - Mike Kuz Besides reading articles I love listening to podcasts when I’m running. I've listened to some really great ones, but there's two in particular that I want to mention. The first is from the IA Summit 09 called Creating Magic Kingdoms: User Experience Lessons from Disney’s Imagineers by Mike Atherton. Mike talks about passion when doing something and how that helps us to achieve our goals. He uses Disney and their engineers or as he calls them- "Imagineers" as an example. It’s very motivating with great insights about the importance of trying and believing in what you’re doing. “Our greatest asset was ignorance. We didn’t know we could fail” - Marty Sklar, Imagineer. You can see the slides and listen to the podcast below. The second podcast that I found useful was a great episode from the SpoolCast, podcast from the UIE.com by the mighty Jared Spool, called Innovation Beyond the Buzzword. It was an interview with Scott Berkun and he talked about the meaning of the word innovation and how we can bring it into our projects. The part that I enjoyed the most was the discussion about how to be creative. He says that everyone is creative but somehow we deny that because it is something very particular of each person, there’s no right or wrong, but instead only points of views. We simply don’t want to expose ourselves or get into discussions or arguments about our thoughts and we end up choosing the logic fields like math or science where there’s one right answer. “True innovation starts with you allowing yourself to be creative and recording your ideas religiously in a safe place like a notebook or sketchpad. Don’t self-censor, either. Initial precision and “getting it right” are the antithesis of creativity. It’s essential to let the ideas flow, and your ideas will improve as you continue to record them. Your journal is an incubator of ideas. Not every idea will be a success, and some will be terrible! But Scott says that’s OK. When an opportunity for change arises, you’ll have a treasure trove of ideas to pick though.” They go on to talk about the importance of group trust when you have an idea because that's what's necessary in making the idea come true. This leads to one of the most important topics for us designers that is how to provide useful feedback, or honest and constructive criticism among teams and individuals. “Good critiques take practice and trust within your team. This usually requires time and commitment.” - Scott Berkun I highly recommend that you listen to this episode. You can do so below Great design by Glennz, one of the most creative t-shirt designers out there. Glennz simply plays and tries different concepts for well known things like this one. When I said in the beginning of the text that 2010 would be a creative year I meant that the best way to be creative is practicing and exercising creativity. There was a time where I believed that good ideas would come out of the blue. I later found out that there's always a lot of thought involved. Nobody simply comes up with a good idea if there's not a problem to solve, a question to ask, or a desire to fulfill. I want to propose that we all make 2010 a great and creative year by sharing our knowledge and not being afraid of experimenting. Let’s be less critical about the outcome of our experiments and more cheerful about our discoveries in the learning process and the evolution path in the design skills. That's what's most important after all.

Very Creative Photos by Murat Suyur

Well, if you like to see great photography and a good work on photoshop this is it, Murat is one of the most creative artists I have ever seen, I'm sure you seen some of his pieces around but this selection is going to bring your inspiration level to the top, check it out. Murat Suyur was born in Istanbul 1984, lives and works in Istanbul - Turkey. His approach to photography is a classic on in early 2005, he says the computer is just a tool that he uses to carry out corrections. He has an unmistakable pictorial idiom, based on his humor, his playfulness and a practically unlimited power of the imagination. Murat pictorial composition nonetheless remains simple and clear. The multiple levels of interpretation in Suyur's work points to surrealism art as the creative source of his inspiration. For more visit muratsuyur.com Did you like this post? How about the Abduzeedo's new Limited Edition Tee "Goddess of Abduction"