How to Be Creative at ALA

Whether your art form is music, dance, film, theatre, visual art, web design, fashion, make-up, graphic design, sports(yes it is an artform) photography, or writing, we’ve created steps for you to succeed as an artist especially if you want it as a career. Being a creative thinker can be difficult at ALA but we know this will help you out in some way.

Relax ALA is not the worst thing that has happened to your art.

It is difficult to be an artist at the African Leadership Academy. There is this sense that most of what goes on in ALA doesn’t help you. You think that the guest speakers can add nothing to your life. You think that only a small portion of what you do at the academy will help you improve your art. The truth is you’re probably right. You’re also wrong. Although it may be hard to find ways to grow your art at ALA, all that goes on at ALA can inspire you. A true artist finds art in everything.

Deal with haters.

Whether you want to make the best clothes the African continent has seen, or write books that rival ‘Half of a Yellow Sun,’ there will always be haters around us. There are always those ALA students that do not believe in art and believe that leadership comes in either business or politics. They can make you feel less about yourself because you want to work in the creative industry. You have to realize that you can make a difference in Africa as an artist. There has to be all kinds of people for a society to succeed.  Someone needs to create a machine that produces fabric and someone needs to turn fabric into clothes. As an artist, think of yourself as the person who further creates with a finished product.

Practice your art as much as you can.

10,000 hours of practice makes perfect. You have to practice using watercolors to become a great watercolor artist. It takes hours of voice training and singing to become a great vocalist. Of course it is hard to find time at ALA with all the projects and essays that have to be completed but if art is important to you, you will try your best to get better at it.

Experiment with your art.

The best way to improve your style is to buy clothes you think you would never wear. This is the same with art. Everyone has a signature style of delivering their art but the only way to really improve is to try new things. It’s said often that you should leave your comfort zone but if you’re really going to succeed in your art you need to try things outside your comfort zone and find a way to make them comfortable.

It’s okay to feel hopeless.

It is easy to find yourself feeling hopeless, like your journey, as an artist will take you nowhere. This feeling is worse when you have chosen your artistic field as a career path for your life. You may feel like you are not good enough and how you’ll ever succeed as an artist. It is okay to feel this way. It is okay to feel like you will end up broke: taking photographs at children’s birthday parties instead of the magazine cover photos you dreamt of taking. You could be stuck making wedding videos instead of the movies you dreamt of creating. It is fine to feel this way. When you feel this way channel it into something positive. Find ways to improve your art so this hopeless inadequate feeling comes up less.

Now that you know how to be artists at ALA we will leave you with these inspirational quotes.

“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul and you answer.” – Terri Guillemets

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse

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