10 Creativity Ideas for the New Year

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Dear friend,

With the new year is a new artistic and creative new you. Here are some very practical and pragmatic ideas I got for you:

  1. Decide and acclaim to yourself that art is your final end: To declare once and for all to yourself that you’re an artist and your passion is art. To not delay your art. To recognize you’ll never have enough money before you feel “secure” before you can start attempting your art in full force. So that means, devote your mornings (when you’re the most fresh) to pursue your art works. After we gotta work and do all these pointless meetings then we get drained. We cannot make art when we are drained. Use your metabolism and life force in the morning when you’re at full physiological vigor to make your art work.
  2. Experiment with calligraphy: Calligraphy can just be scribbles. I find the dynamic force and energy I get from calligraphy insanely energizing and motivational for all my artistic pursuits including photography. Study the calligraphs of many of the Zen and Taoist painters, as well as the classic Chinese calligraphers.
  3. Think black: Ultimately the simplest manifestation of art is a simple white background and black ink. Richard Avedon was such a genius because he was able to take it to the minimalist extreme — simple white background with portraits or his subjects in black and white. Calligraphy is the same. I really like the artwork of Franz Kline — the dynamism and force he had in his black paints, and his crazy innovative compositions. So for you just practice high contrast black and white photography, and strive to make the most visually sublime simple photos possible.
  4. Just go out to shoot photos: Why not? Just grab your camera and just go for a quick walk around the block for the sole purpose of shooting photos. Or just drive your car to a downtown area, and just walk around for a bit to shoot photos. Just focus on your photography. You can do a 5 minute walk, a 10 minute walk, or a 20 minute walk. Or even more ambitious — 30 minutes, an hour, etc. It doesn’t need to be complicated or far. Here having a copy of STREET NOTES in your back pocket (or camera bag) is hugely useful and motivational.
  5. Study geometry: Geometry is hugely useful for us photographers to study. Why? With geometry, we learn to see the world in a different way. We learn to simplify shapes and forms, and to add structure and coherence to our visual art works. In photography, without a restrictive rectangle-frame, a photograph cannot exist. Also I recommend for you to study ‘fractals’ and ‘sacred geometry’ for some additional inspiration.
  6. Deep-dive into the masters of photography and art: Study the masters of photography and the masters of art in general. You can learn from the 100 lessons I’ve learned from the masters of street photography [PDF download] and steal some of the best ideas you can. I typically think if you can steal even one interesting idea from the masters of photography, it is worth it! Perhaps then the assignment can be: Every day, study one different prominent artist from the past. You can reference my blog, or even use Wikiart.org or the Google Arts and Culture app (free download on iOS and Android). Also it can be useful to study the history of street photography (or not!)
  7. Give yourself permission to make ‘bad’ art: If we study the art works of children, we think they are not ‘good’ in the traditional sense because they don’t pay attention to proper shape, line, form, and photo-realism. But if we study Picasso or Matisse, isn’t it evident that towards the end of their life, their ‘best’ art works were very abstract and ‘child-like’?
  8. Visit an in-person photo bookstore if you can, and look through all the art books: I was recently at a university bookstore, and came across randomly this great book: Eulogy for Burying a Crane and the Art of Chinese Calligraphy. I still think there is a huge merit for visiting in-person bookstores (if you can, COVID restrictions depending). Why? Random per-chance discoveries of new books. Whenever I am in the bookstore, I always look through the comic book section, graphic novel section, architecture section, ancient philosophy and greek/classic section, photography section, painting section, art history section, etc and I will typically find at least one new book which inspires and stimulates me. I typically believe that when it comes to artistic motivation and inspiration, ‘Buying books, not gear’ holds true. For some inspiration, check out my books section.
  9. Consider printing and framing your photos: Now that we are all spending so much time indoors now, why not use this chance to expose yourself to more of your own art works? For myself, I find it hugely fun to find a photo to print. And once you print it out and frame it and see it every day, it will certainly brighten up your day!
  10. Utilize your phone for art! I love Procreate app and the Zen Brush calligraphy app on iPhone and iPad. Or even use your phone to write whether it be poetry, prose, blog posts, articles etc. My favorite app is iA Writer.

Where should I share my artistic creations?


First your own website blog. Bluehost.com and install WordPress.org, or do it on WordPress.com for an easier option.

For your best photos, arsbeta.com


10 Creative HAPTIC TOOLS

henri wrist strap crema brown cindy
Henri Wrist Strap CREMA BROWN

Some top 10 HAPTIC INDUSTRIES tools for you this year:

  1. MUSE by KIM: The apex of aesthetics for a camera strap.
  2. Street Photography Starter Kit: Use this year to master street photography for yourself.
  3. HENRI SHOULDER STRAP: For the highly functional and fashionable cross-body strap style.
  4. CREATIVE EVERY DAY: Your ultimate primer to re-awakening the creative (childlike) genius within you.
  5. HENRI WRIST STRAP (CREMA BROWN): Creamy and buttery on your wrist.
  6. SUITS by ERIC KIM: My first published hardcover fold-flat book (only one left in stock).
  7. PHOTO JOURNAL: Discover more personal meaning in your photography and life (if you order a print version, you get a free mobile version!)
  8. ERIC KIM Wrist Strap Mark II: The best camera strap for RICOH GR II / RICOH GR III.
  9. FREE ERIC KIM PRESETS: Fun and free to experiment on your photos.
  10. FILM NOTES: Perhaps this can be your year to learn and master film photography?

Discover more HAPTIC products in HAPTIC SHOP or on AMAZON >

5 Inspirational photography quotes

  1. You don’t take a photo, you make it. – Ansel Adams
  2. The maximum, this is what has always interested me. – Josef Koudelka
  3. To take photographs is putting one’s head, one’s eye, and one’s heart on the same axis. – Henri Cartier Bresson
  4. All photos are accurate, none of them are truth. – Richard Avedon
  5. I took photos with my camera and my heart. – Gabriel Cualladó

Study all masters >

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