A little under four months ago, I made a conscious decision to become more creative. And I started creating maps.
I experimented with a few styles and did some pieces on A4 that at the time I was pleased with, but looking at them now, I’m less convinced. I moved up to A3, a size much more at one with the subject matter, and honed my style through nothing but iteration.
And I became comfortable. Comfortable in the sense that the act of creation was fulfilling, that it was therapeutic, that it was emotionally rewarding.
But as I guess is the case with anything creative, and indeed things beyond creativity, I was caught between two pillars. On the one hand, I thought that what I was doing was amateurish. On the other, I thought it was rather impressive. Maybe it was a bit of both.
And out in the field, the very few people who have been exposed to my “work” have had varying reactions. Some love it, some aren’t particularly impressed.
Anyway, I gave away prints of a couple of my early creations to friends and family as presents. One particular friend framed hers and put it up in her hallway.
And her girlfriend, who I don’t know, popped round at the weekend to visit her. And she loved the piece of work on her wall –my map of the UK mainland. So much so that she asked where it came from. Three days later.
Last night, she ordered a print of my London map as a wedding present, for the handsome sum of £30. She received it this evening, saying that it was “clever” and that “[she] love[d] it”.
To create something from scratch that someone loves is an immense feeling. For it to delight so much so that someone is willing to part with £30 for a piece of it is mesmerising and utterly humbling. And to know that the creation might be hung on someone’s wall, someone that you don’t even know, puts a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
It’s a feeling I’ve never experienced before. And I love it. I didn’t decide to be more creative to make money. But the money signifies the value that people place in the stuff I’ve created. And that, to me, is much greater than the money could ever be.
Here’s my shop, btw.