Creativity in the Capital

I've just read the latest issue of Dazed & Confused which included some features on artists, designers, directors and other creative minds who reside and/or work in east London and their views on the future of the creative hub and talent breeding ground. It was interesting to read their concerns about east London becoming more and more commercialised, many of them reminiscing about the early Shoreditch/Stepney scene which has since moved further east to Dalston and parts of Hackney. Their main concern it seems is - if east London is dead - where do they go from here?

In the late 20th century, it was West London that was seen as the blossoming creative neighbourhood. Soon the masses caught wind of this, property prices sky rocketed and the creatives flocked eastwards. Post-2012 Olympics, will east London go back to being a quietly bubbling haven for bohemians? Or will it erupt in the burst of capitalism and generic commercialisation that has infected west London? If the same thing is happening again, where is there to go from here? North? South? Or will the new young talents be forced to leave London altogether?

No matter the decade, no matter the latest fashion/social/cultural trends, there is always a need, a compulsion, for some people to have a creative space, whether it is to live or work in. Location isn't a priority so long as there is a scene and like-minded people. There are so many stories about squats, communes, warehouses that were full to the brim with creative minds, exploring their own and each other's ideas. Is the expansion of Stratford city threatening to bring those days to an end? Some say east London is dead, some argue that it needs to be saved before it's too late! Either way, creative minds need creative spaces.

This has got me thinking about my own creativity and how I aim to nurture it, use it effectively and to my advantage. As I approach my graduation from the London College of Fashion, I am constantly being asked what I'm going to do next, and frankly, like many of my classmates, I don't have much of an idea.

What I do know is that I need to be a lot more forthright with putting my ideas across. I often get precious about my ideas, embarrassed even, and then, I will see something that I thought of months ago (but never vocalised) being wildly successful and I'm determined to never let that happen again. It is often said that no idea is a bad idea, so I need to stop being so proud, stop doubting myself, and start putting wheels into motion towards a future as a prolific and successful creative mind.

With this in mind I have just finished reading "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron, a guide to discovering and recovering your creative self, which was recommended by none other than Martin Scorsese himself, a big hero of mine! Although not all of this book was, I felt, relevant to me (it was a tad... 'preachy' at times, verging a bit too much on 'self-help') there are many helpful exercises and some really great advice. Notably, some bullet points that I aim to follow about freeing yourself from creative constriction -
  • Stop telling yourself "It's too late." 
  • Stop waiting to make enough money to do something you'd really love.
  • Stop telling yourself "It's just my ego" whenever you yearn for a more creative life.
  • Stop telling yourself that dreams don't matter, that they are only dreams and that you should be more sensible.
  • Stop fearing that your family and friends would think your crazy.
  • Stop telling yourself that creativity is a luxury and that you should be grateful for what you've got.   
In short, embrace, nurture and express your ideas, before someone else does! So that's my mantra for next decade or so at least! Other good reads for this kind of material include - 

  • Damn Good Advice (For people with talent) by George Lois
  • Brutal Simplicity of Thought by Lord Saatchi
  • Everything Paul Arden has ever written.

Onwards and upwards!