creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

creative consulting for the art of life by Jason Jenn

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artist as Model: Julie Staub Part 2

Julie Staub writing down info from her photo subject
This week continues profiling Documentation Artist Julie Staub. We had a chance to reconnect this summer and share philosophies about our approaches to art and elements that contribute to our growth as artists. Now Julie gets to be a “model” providing us the opportunity to explore three factors in developing more creativity in your life: challenges, routines, and playful themes. 

One quick note: while I encourage the casual reader to develop more creative practices and hone their skills: ALWAYS HIRE AN EXPERT!  Photography in particular is one of those fields where having a professional document your special event or create your portrait makes a huge difference. So check out more of Julie’s professional work at and if you’re in the Iowa City region bring her artistry to your memorable occasion.

There are numerous rewards that await from each challenge we make, for each nudge that forces us outside our comfort zone.  We want to find some kind of challenge that will provoke us, something that isn’t easy, but isn’t so hard that we could feel worse for any kind of failure from it. But failure is where we truly learn. A good challenge will take us up to our edge, encouraging us to grow beyond.

One of Julie's gorgeous shots from around Iowa City
Julie took a major step earlier this year by committing to a daily practice of taking and posting photographs online for her Iowa City 365 Project. It’s a deceptively simple concept, but the long term continuation of it takes real dedication. Julie is continually challenging herself to find new and various subject matter — and from that she is forced to look her surroundings in a new way, expanding her vision and discovering different perspectives for framing life as we normally see it.

In addition to that, comes the slight pressure of the commitment to post a new photo by the end of the day, which is not an easy task to achieve 7 days a week, 52 weeks out of a year! That’s something she only truly realized after taking the plunge. She was already a remarkable photographer, but now this daily challenge has shown a commitment to being a remarkable and dedicated artist with an expanded range and body of work.

Julie in action taking a shot for the Iowa City 365 Project...

A routine flexes our creative muscles and gives us something regular to count on and to anchor us among the constantly changing and evolving landscape of creative energy.

And her pictured result
Julie carries her camera with her everywhere — whether it be her still camera or smart phone. She never knows when the opportunity for a photo will arise. But occasionally she also goes off on purposeful expeditions with the intention to explore her surroundings and take pictures along the way. It is part of her routine to take an art walk (something I have covered at great length in past posts like this one) and part of the routine to capture an image for her 365 Project.

I tagged along with her one dusk as we made our way around walking through the neighborhood so she could “find” that day’s picture. Julie was interviewed and profiled in a television feature last year about her process of taking walks and documenting her surrounding — you can view that episode online at:

Hearts abound in nature!
An artist usually develops some kind of repeated motif or subject matter that becomes a theme in their work.  Having the addition of a playful theme among your pursuits keeps the spirit of youthful energy, the spirit of fun and adventure alive and well in your artistry. It prevents us from becoming too serious or stagnate about our work.

Over time, Julie has developed several playful themes that weave into her body of work and provide her a fun and whimsical way to express herself.  Some of those include the photographing of heart shapes, thereby reflecting her “love of love” and how the symbolic heart can be found everywhere.  Julie is not alone in that pursuit, and she was able to have some of her work included into a book of similar artwork called Focus: Love.

"Is it a sign?" - noticing 222 everywhere

Another playful theme of Julie’s is the photographing of the number 222. She’s noticed that number pops up in her life continuously as she became more attuned and conscious of its presence.

Both playful themes allow Julie to feel connected to the world around her and gives her a burst of happiness and wonder when they come up.

SO... what kinds of challenges, routines, and playful themes can you find and develop in your artistic endeavors? Enlisting a Creativity Coach/Consultant (like myself) can help you keep on track. Contact me for further details - and keep enjoying the art of life!

Three factors & what mysteries wait behind these three doors by Julie?

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