DIY project by Love Maegan on Flickr

I’ve always been a DIY person… mostly out of necessity. (My first job barely paid the bills out of college.) I remember it becoming a joke amongst my colleagues that generally one or two days a week they could see me under the hood of my Blazer after work in the parking lot. I pinched every penny I owned to make it by. I also went through a period in my adolescence where my family’s finances grew really tight. And while I’ve always enjoyed creating “things,” I wonder if finances actually triggered this DIY lifestyle?  Even at the first school I worked at we had limited funds so I’d brainstorm new and different ways to use resources.

I’ve noticed the difference of a DIY attitude and those who don’t have one by living in Dubai. While this place is absolutely chock-full of opportunities for those that want to take advantage, DIY seems to only manifest in building companies, setting up art galleries, etc. I read a book when I moved here about Middle Eastern culture and it suggested that people from this region actually see tasks like fixing your car below themselves and that fixing it yourself means you are of a lower class. (Class systems are pretty obvious here, just google labor camps in Dubai). And I see that a bit in the attitude of people around me about DIY tasks. I shared recently with some people I’m stringing my own pearls and the big question was why when someone else can do it for you so cheap?

This had me thinking, I’ve observed how structure brought my students to another level with their art, and the same for some artists, like Jen Stark. Is DIY behavior and action a reflection of how restriction can promote creative endeavor?

I go through pages of DIY ideas on social media like Pinterest or websites like Ikea Hackers and it makes me wonder just how much creativity is an integral part of human nature? And if so, how can we constructively use limitation to enhance our creative output? I said I’ve begun limiting myself to the mound of materials in my apartment and I’m feeling reaffirmed. Now time to outline and try to practice using limitation in my creative process!

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How can we as artists create frameworks to promote and challenge our creative process?