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74 - Doing What's Fun
💭 best ideas from the new 🎙 podcast episode
Today I’m sharing the new episode of the SneakyArt Podcast, a conversation with Koosje Koene - artist, YouTuber, and creative entrepreneur. I share the best ideas we discussed, and my thoughts around them. Enjoy!
🎙 Ep 29 - Doing What’s Fun with Koosje Koene
In this episode, I speak with Amsterdam-based artist and educator Koosje Koene about how she used the restrictions of COVID lockdown to "discover an extended version of the artist" in herself, using a simple philosophy of doing what’s fun.
How much can be achieved by doing what’s fun? Can it spark new ideas? Can it help us accomplish big, important goals too? Koosje used this period to write a book and discover a new creative outlet in abstract art, and we talk about both of these interesting projects.
Koosje has been an educator and art-entrepreneur for a decade, and we speak about that with relation to her journey at Sketchbook Skool as well as her successful YouTube channel. We talk about the unique task of being an independent creative - the burdens and responsibilities of such a job title, and also the unique opportunities it offers in today's landscape.
Listen to our conversation on your choice of streaming service, or use a link below:
💡 Ideas from the Conversation
Here are my best ideas from the episode, each followed by a question for you. I would love to see your answers.
💭 Do What’s Fun
Our conversation began with Koosje’s idea to “only do what is fun”, after leaving Sketchbook Skool. But her grand plans were shattered by the onset of COVID. It is remarkable to consider the things she was able to accomplish this with this simple goal within lockdown restrictions.
Every artist must find what fuels their creative energy.
Doing what is fun is not always a way to avoid important things. By re-focusing on daily drawing and her YouTube channel, Koosje was able to reach the intersection of fun and work - to dig deeper into her interests and generate more value from them. We speak about her plan to publish a book of her top ideas from making Draw Tip Tuesday videos on her YouTube channel.
What is the intersection of work and fun for you? What are some interesting things you could do by leaning into that?
💭 Gardeners vs Architects
We were speaking about career trajectories when I introduced the analogy of gardeners vs architects, which I heard from author George RR Martin.
As creatives, we falsely believe that we are required to be architects. We look at the lives of successful artists and imagine them to be constructed out of blueprints and meticulous planning. But most careers have grown from such simple things as seed and water and doing what’s fun. (Trust me, I have 30 conversations to prove that this is the case!)
We need to accept that complete control is neither necessary nor desirable, in order to follow a path of exploration and discovery. This is how, even years after being an artist, Koosje was able to discover “an extended version of the artist” inside herself.
What are some good things that happened to you by accident? Have circumstance and coincidence played a role in your life?
💭 Think about the games you want to play
As a young person in India, I grew up in a culture of intense competition. All young people were competing against all other young people. Before you knew which game you were in, you were racing to be #1. There was no time to think. You hit the ground running.
This can be a disastrous way to live. Our life is finite. Our resources are finite. What’s worse, the more we do it, the less inclined we are to reconsider our actions. This is known as the sunk cost fallacy.
As creatives, we must think about the games we want to play. What are the rules? What are the costs and for what kind of payoffs? This applies to the different forms of social media we use, the goals we choose to pursue, the people we seek to emulate, and the things we allow to make us jealous.
I was 2.5 years into a PhD program (in neuroscience) when I realized I was in the wrong race. That was when I quit to become a full-time creative.
Have you ever quit a race that you were pushed into by life events and circumstances?
💭 Don’t try to be the best. Be the only.
This advice was given to me by someone whose ideas I respect. We were speaking about the paths an independent solo artist may follow in the emerging creator economy.
The good thing about the creator economy is that it allows so many creators (like me) to connect directly with their audiences (like you). The bad thing about the creator economy is that there are so many creators (like me!) connecting directly with their audience!
How do I stand out?
The internet is becoming a better place for independent creatives. The world is no longer a zero-sum game (i.e. for me to win, someone else has to lose). There is space at the top for more than one person. There is so much space that it is foolish and wasteful to try to be the best.
Do what’s fun, be a gardener of your mind, think of the games you want to play, and focus on what makes you unique. Be the only.
While I say this, I don’t believe that being the only means being original. No one is original. Directly or indirectly, consciously or subconsciously, everyone borrows from their world. To be the only person we are, to be the person only we are, is not to chase the mirage of originality. It is about what we make from all that we take.
Make from your world only what you could make. Don’t be original, be authentic. Be the only.
How do you see the difference between originality and authenticity? Have you seen it in your work, or the work of someone you admire?
🥳 Books Giveaway
Last week, I celebrated the milestone of crossing 1000 readers on this newsletter!
Part of the celebrations was a books giveaway to the top 5 comments in answer to the question - “What do you like about this newsletter?”
Here are the winners!
If you see your name, please hit reply to this email and send me your mailing address!
📢 Join us in the Post-Script!
This episode of the podcast includes a bonus section, available exclusively to SneakyArt Insiders. It is a 40 minute conversation that begins with Koosje’s experience forming a community around Sketchbook Skool and her urban-sketching workshops. We talk about e-books, independent publishing, and a creative-entrepreneurial way to regard our work.
What are some ways to approach monetization, marketing, and distribution, without sacrificing the artistic integrity and “fun” that is central to being an artist?
To listen to the SneakyArt Post-Script, become an Insider!
I will see you next week with a fun commission I completed this week, and the latest SneakyArt. Thank you for your time and attention!