Today I want to welcome Everett Bogue to Artist Strong. He has graciously offered his time to speak about creative process and authenticity. Welcome!! 🙂
You are often exploring multiple projects and ideas professionally. How do you know when it’s time to end one project and begin another?
I’m constantly experimenting with projects. It’s often hard to tell what will work for me or for the people who support my work until I’ve experimented with a project.
When is it time to end a project? That depends a lot on the project.
At the end of 2009, I launched a culture magazine for 20-somethings with a friend of mine. We worked on it for 6 months. After 6 months we found that the work wasn’t really landing for an audience, so we decided to kill the project.
Asking the question: is it time to end this? is always hard. It’s hard for me and it’s hard for people I may be working with. It’s also hard for anyone who has supported the project by reading or investing.
Many times the decision to untether from projects is more important than choosing the projects to do. Every untether frees up space for the new and interesting to begin.
What questions are important to ask yourself when considering a project and whether it is authentic to your personal and professional goals?
Derek Sivers wrote a blog post once where he said: “If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then say no.”
I’m a believer in this. If I’m thinking about a project that I’ve proposed, or listening to one proposed by someone else, if it’s not 100% blowing my mind, then I turn it down.
I’d rather have space than all of my time booked with projects I’m only 25% enthusiastic about.
This means I say ‘no’ to many many projects, emails, and requests.
How do you maintain your authenticity despite an location independent lifestyle and a very fluid, open work life?
I maintain authenticity by being honest: with myself, with others.
Part of being honest is requesting that people who choose to interact with me continually update their mental models. I evolve quickly, I move quickly throughout the world.
What was true for me last year is probably not true for me now.
I use my website to bring people up to speed on where I am, what I’m working on, and how to get involved.
How do you measure the success of a project?
Initially: does anyone care? Including me.
Eventually: does it bring in automated income?
What does creativity mean to you?
It means working my own edge in the work, while continuing to relate back to people who are just beginning to get involved in my work.
You use your own photography within your work. Does the content drive your artistic choice or do you take photos and then use them when they match content?
The photos I use are from experiences in the world that I’ve had recently. I don’t shoot them specifically for the work.
A few weeks ago, I rented a convertible from Zipcar, grabbed a friend and drove north from Seattle until we got to Chukanut forest. We explored, took photographs, practiced yoga on rocks.
All of my work fuels my engagement with the world, so in a way, I use the photographs to show how the work leads to engagement.
How has your interest in the arts affected your professional life?
Over the last 10 years, I’ve explored dance, photography, and writing. All three of these explorations link back to each other in some way.
Have you ever felt “blocked” and what are some strategies you use to maintain creative flow?
Whenever I feel blocked, I walk outside. I’ve found that I shouldn’t be creating if I don’t feel like creating anything. In the exploration, the work comes.
Who are creatives that inspire you?
Advice for people who want your life?
I wouldn’t want anyone to want my life. I never feel like I should be aspiring to be another person. Instead, I turn in and begin looking at myself.
Lately I’ve been asking the question: what can I untether from in order to evolve?
I find that freedom to live in the world and pursue the work comes from constantly asking that question.