Storyteller

Architecture is a book that stores all the stories and lets people write their own.

I am a lost soul, I like to sit by myself and think, watch people, and read among many other things. Recently I went to the Architecture and Design Film Festival in New York and watched a film called The Storyteller. After Walter Benjamin. by Nathaniel Knop, I had no expectations what so ever about this film. I did not research, I just went after reading a short description. My initial thought from the title connected me to books, the idea of a narrative and how a story can transform lives. The only emotion I was expecting was to be given a new perspective, and the movie lived up to my expectations and much more, it gave me something to ponder about on the direction of how I want to tell my story.

When I was watching the film, I kept getting memories of when I first started reading for myself, it was during eighth grade and I had recently moved to the U.S., I had no friends initially and so I discovered the public library of my town and started reading random books from the young adult section. They helped me soothe my soul and be ok with what I was experiencing. They gave me solace. They would and still take me on a journey I haven’t been before and I can clearly experience every emotion that the character is experiencing. I am in a different world when I am reading and that is what architecture is for me. It is a new world where there are stories revolving around emoting different feelings. One of the scenes during the movie had the famous architect Peter Eisenman talk about the Holocaust museum that he designed in Germany. He says that when he was designing it, he did not want to tell a story as it was not his job to tell it since he was not part of it and none of his architecture tells a story. I don’t know if I completely agree with it but I do understand his perspective and believe that architecture is supposed to be the canvas for the stories of the people who occupy it. I also believe that architecture is a story of the person who designs it, it is supposed to help people connect to that one story and let the inhabitants interpret it in their own way. Architecture is a book that stores all the stories and lets people write their own.

This sentiment that I have for architecture has made me question what I want to pursue in life. I don’t want to be a traditional architect; I want to go beyond. Beyond just constructing for commercial purposes, I want to understand humans and their neurological side to make spaces that adapt to them to soothe and create stories. I want my architecture to heal, I don’t know how yet but I am in the process of figuring that out. It might take me a long time but I know I will get there eventually. My only goal is to create something that will let people connect to my story and let them write their own through it.

HS

Perfection Perception

Perfection is bittersweet. It can help us set high standards for our work or leave us grasping to reach impractical goals. With the constant need to overachieve and always second guessing yourself, the finish line can seem impossible. Perfectionist ideals can help us create an impeccable image of what our creative process should be, but perfectionist tendencies often leave us feeling inadequate.

I often feel uninspired to paint or sketch because I think it should look a certain way. Perfect lines and smooth transitions.

Tonal value and depth.

A play on darkness and light.

It has to look real, have dimensional quality.

Nothing abstract.

Anything less and it’s not good enough.

Anything less and it’s not perfect.

The focus here is perfection and its relation to the creative process because it may be doing more damage than you think. Those who have perfectionist tendencies often look to please everyone else, but the fear of disappointment can take away all of the enjoyment.  Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. If you really think about it, you are trying to achieve something that is unattainable. So allow yourself some compassion and flexibility and learn to accept imperfection.

I wouldn’t sketch or paint for months, because I was stuck in the mindset of perfection perception. Instead of allowing myself to be encompassed in the process, I was rigid about the outcome. It’s funny to think about it now because I call myself a creative. Don’t get me wrong, the desire to create something based on your standards is completely valid, but understand that criticism is powerful. Don’t take it so personally because it is not about being invincible, it’s about being resilient.

When something goes wrong, we have all probably thought to ourselves that we weren’t perfect enough, or rather simply not good enough. We begin to compartmentalize and if done the wrong way, it can emotionally conflict us. Then, on top of that we use perfection to categorize excuses for why we failed. You didn’t fail because you weren’t good enough. You failed because that tactic didn’t work. You failed because you made a wrong decision. Maybe you failed because it just wasn’t the right way. And no, I’m not calling you a failure right now, but understand it’s all part of the process. The point is to acknowledge what didn’t work in your situation, not waste time deciphering the logic of perfectionism.

So I started to art journal. Even though I already knew that art is not just still life, landscapes and portraits, I learned to practice this idea with intent. I allowed myself to experience the abstract because the goal was simply expression. With that in mind, I created some of my most meaningful work.

The bitter side of perfectionism can truly paralyze your creativity. If you find yourself struggling to finish a piece because it has to be perfect, give yourself a deadline or get some feedback from another creative or just a fresh set of eyes. Don’t stop and tell yourself you’ll do it later because the same issues will just follow. Something has to change: a new outlook or a different approach. Maybe try out the artistic style that scares you a bit or try a new genre of music or literature. Don’t waste your energy on fighting something that simply doesn’t work. Rather, use that energy on something new. You can begin by not striving for perfection itself, but by striving for something tangible, like your realistic goals.

-AJ