Have you ever heard the stigma that artists are disorganized and chaotic? Today we're gonna define chaos and order and what it actually is, and we're gonna bring light to the space that creatives live in our studios, our minds, and see the truth about order and chaos. You know, Charla and I were just talking before starting the podcast, saying this morning has felt a little chaotic, and It's ironic that we're gonna start off the new year with this topic because we wanna talk about this, this, you know, definition of order and chaos. And here we are feeling a little chaotic. Right. Charla.
Yeah. Which is kind of funny cause I'm thinking about the definitions now and what they are and what, like, my whole thought and goal for the podcast is to, uh, kind of just release from... release from artists, the idea that they are chaotic. 'Cuz I actually think it's really a negative term. And we're often looked at as unorganized, and we live in chaos and what do, we do what we want, when we want, and there's just no order to our lives or whatever. And so I'm thinking, what is chaos actually mean? And we have the definitions and we wanted to talk about the definitions. Um, and it, it actually is like pure chaos is, is living ins complete disorder. You know, it's, it's the complete opposite of anything that is orderly when everything is in complete chaos and nothing makes sense. And this morning that's where my brain felt, so it's kind of like you, you, you step, we, we organized ourselves for the podcast.
We're ready, we have our points, we've, we've, we've talked about this ahead of time. We got ready, we set up our lights, put on our makeup. I mean, we feel like we're in complete order, but then all of a sudden, when it's time to talk, I feel like I just stood on that ledge and fell off where I was suddenly and like chaos and like can't think straight. So, then I find myself climbing back up that edge trying to find, get back over that fence, kind of where there's a little bit of order into my thoughts again, so I can talk. I don't know if that made any sense, but that's, it was a really good picture of what we wanna talk about today.
Yeah. And if you think about it, the, the artist and the human being is so many multi-layers, so many facets to ourselves. We've got our mental, emotional, spiritual, creative, like, all of these different parts of us. And there could be chaos and order in any given department at any given time. And so, you know, here we are, we're orderly, we're ready for the podcast on time. And yet, mentally you were feeling chaotic, like saying to me, uh, I don't even know if I feel ready in, you know. And so there's so many different ways that we can have chaos in order. Um, but when you defined it to me a couple weeks back and we decided on this topic for the show, I had an aha moment when you were talking because every artist, every person finds order of their own in a way. Their own brain and their own life can digest and understand their own world. So that, that isn't as a, um, beautiful as a definition as Charla could probably give you. But that's my definition of just saying it needs to be personal. And when people enter my studio, my sense of nor, um, order is different than the next person's sense of the word. Like, they might even feel chaotic in my studio, but I have a sense of knowing where everything is, and I bring it to my order.
Yeah. Whereas some people look at that as chaos, but it's not the true definition of what chaos is. I see it like, okay, so I listen to Jordan Peterson, who there's a short clip on YouTube and we'll link it in the description where he actually explains -- who I think is a brilliant mind -- and he thinks, he explains what ordering chaos actually means. Excuse me. And it's not like it's order is this, and chaos is this, and they're opposite. And you can only be one or the other. It's more like order is a spectrum. There's a spectrum of order. And if you get right into one side where maybe that person is, you walk into their house, and they're like Marie Condo, you know, maybe even Marie Cono on steroids, where their house is pristine. Everything is in its place so much that you can find things in their house. Like, it's not like they have their own organizational system. It is exactly what, um, everybody kind of knows how to order their house. It's so predictable, I guess maybe is a good word. It's so predictable and perfect in and perfect in somebody's eyes. So then you move I
Charla was saying perfect with air quotes just for the audio, the audio listeners out there.
Yeah. Um, but then there's this spectrum where somebody else might be orderly and neat and tidy and all those kinds of things, too, but have a different system, and then you move further and further along to you get to somebody's desk. Like, if you might see mine right now, well, it's actually kind of ordered. I cleaned it up so I wouldn't have to look at it while we were talking today. But somebody's work desk can be, um, a mess. Like it can look very untidy and messy and unstructured, but that person who works there knows where everything is on the desk. 'Cause they have put those things there, and is, it's very ordered in their mind. And if you went in and moved things around, even though it might look the same, it might still look messy. That person now doesn't know where their stuff is.
So now it's disordered to them. Now it becomes chaos. So, orderly is not neat and tidy. It's not expected. It's not known by another person. It's simply known by you. And if you look at that spectrum where you can have the, the expected, predictable side of order, and then the spectrum goes all the way to the other end of, of a different kind of order that looks like chaos. But it's not because chaos is kind of like an edge where you get right to that edge and when you fall off, you, you go into chaos. And the definition of, of chaos is, is a state of utter confusion. So, it's the opposite of order there. It's complete confusion. And that's how I felt five minutes before we aired because I was like, there's nothing in my brain. I can't remember anything that we've talked about or practiced or, or written.
And yet you've done a fabulous job of defining chaos in order for us. You really pulled through.
Yeah, but then I, I had to climb up that wall back onto the edge
Into the order, yeah.
Into the order. Right, right on the brink of order. That's who I am today. But what I love about the way, um, Jordan Peterson explained it, which I think that's what it is, it's like there's, you know, a big, um, like, uh, in Newfoundland we have these beautiful cliffs by the ocean, and these cliffs are like straight down. And that's kind of what I picture. When you fall off that cliff, you're in complete and utter confusion. There's nothing, you're just in a state of free fall, and you can't control anything. But when you get up on that cliff, there's this, it's a, it's a big, um, plateau really. And there's many places that are safe to stand, But if you wanna get close to the edge, you suddenly, you start getting woozy a little bit, you start getting scared, you feel fear. The people around you are feeling scared, yelling at you to come back. They're scared. They don't want you to fall over. Right? And sometimes if you wanna see over a big steep cliff, you actually lie down and crawl on your stomach so that you won't fall over because you get really woozy and dizzy when you get to the edge. So, there's a lot of risk.
I get woozy and dizzy standing on a step ladder. So.
Yeah. So do I. You can, it's almost like you can feel the chaos, right? As soon as you fall over into that state of confusion, you can almost feel it. And a lot of people don't like to live on the edge because they don't like that dizzy, woozy feeling. It's scary. And they could fall off. And that's where I think a lot of artists like to live because that's, it's like the edge of risk. It's, it's the edge of innovation. They're putting things together. They're taking huge risks to try something new. And they have to live on the edge of chaos in order. Because as soon as it doesn't make sense, it's chaotic.
And that's what being a creative is, is that we are innovators, we're dreamers. We bring what's invisible into the world. We, we bring our ideas out. And, and so to do that, it requires risk. It requires stepping out into that unknown, which does appear to the rest of the world to be chaotic, but to the creator, to the. the artist, we have our own sense of order, generally. I mean, I think a lot of us, we do experience chaos to some degree, and we learn to bring order into it, which this entire series of podcasts that we've done on productivity, and time management, and using your studio time wisely, I think are actually shedding a lot of light and giving tools to everyone, not only here on YouTube and the audio apps, but within the Bold School community. Um, and so, you know, really what we're doing here is trying to get rid of that stigma that artists are disorganized and in chaos and understanding that we can have and create our own order no matter how it looks on the outside.
Yeah. Like everyone else. I think that it's really difficult to, I think most artists will say it's really difficult to create and innovate within conventional boundaries of society. Oh, society, you know, which is order. We need order in order to go out into the world and drive down the street. It has to be very orderly. We all get in our cars and we drive very orderly down the streets. And pedestrians stay... well in North America. Not everywhere. I've been in countries where that does not happen. However, okay. So, I've been in Nairobi, uh, which was probably one of the most chaotic driving experiences I didn't drive. But in Nairobi, Kenya, the city, right in the heart of the city, it's absolute insanity in my mind. It feels like complete and utter chaos because there's no conventional order like there is here in the heart of, like, downtown Vancouver or I've driven in downtown Toronto. I've been in LA and New York haven't driven, but it's still a lot of, it's still a bit scary to drive there if you haven't done it before. But it's still quite orderly. Nairobi is not orderly in my mind, at all. However, our drivers knew exactly what they were doing. They understood the, the what appeared to be chaos.
You understood the chaos, which means there was order.
Yeah. Which means there was order. It was just on a different edge than I was used to. And uh, interestingly enough, there were no cars that did not have dents in them because their order was a little bit more chaotic than ours. But, you know, we as artists need to not be stuck inside those boundaries of order because we need to be innovating. We need to be bringing things together, which creates risk, which creates the chance that we could fall off the edge. And I think we do, sometimes we do fall off the edge and, but what's really interesting is we know how to get back up and keep going. It's not a failure to us, it's not a mistake. It's like, okay, I just, I I teetered a little bit further over, and next time my balance has to be better, and my strength has to get up a little bit more, so that... or maybe I need to have a quicker reflex to catch myself before falling. You know, we learn those things, and we keep innovating, and we keep, we keep moving forward and, but we never go, I think we never go into that other side of perfect, organized order.
Yeah. So I have to tell you a little bit of a story here because I have a, a good friend who's a super highly creative individual and her kids have moved out, and so she has like a lot more space in her home. So, she actually made two studios for herself. She has what she calls her messy studio. And then she has her tidy, orderly studio, and she's given me a virtual tour of these studios. And she really means it. Like, the, the messy one... 'cuz she's a paper, she uses paper and fibers and uh, lots of different markers and tools, and in her messy studio, they're everywhere. And there are piles of papers, and bits and pieces, and everything's kind of cluttery and, and she sticks things to the walls, and you know, it's totally fun and kind of like lights up your brain creatively.
But that's not necessarily where she can do the admin side of everything that she does. And even some of the thinking and dreaming, 'cuz she needs, like, more minimal space. So, then you go into the next room, and it's white, and clear, clean with like tidy little white boxes that have perfect labels on them. And she just has these two spaces. She goes back and forth. And then I adopted that idea for my project books, and we're gonna talk more about project books and my obsession with sticky notes some other day. But I have a messy project book that I just like throw all my idea ideas in, and it's cluttered. Like, if someone else looked at it, they would be so overwhelmed. And then I take from it, and make a very tidy one that I follow out my projects in. And so, um, it's just that there is this beautiful balance between our, you know, on the edge of chaos, our ideas, our needing to be messy and creative and, and you know, all of that to where we can, um, minimize that and really tidy it up in order to be more productive.
Yeah. And I think there's a lot of creative people almost bulk of the idea of, of having a space of order in their life because they don't wanna, you know, they like the identity of that innovative creative person being messy. And, and they like, not even that they like the identity, but it is how they work. However, there are things that can't happen in those types of systems. And I think you had pointed out this podcast to listen to, uh, from the Huberman labs where he talks about non-linearities and linearities, and I a no means fully understand or can reiterate what he said, that guy's genius mind. Um, but he talks about how, uh, linearities are where we have productivity, and the non-linear people are the, where you have the creative exploration and a lot. So, a lot of creatives are, um, non-linear. I don't even know if that's the right way to say it, but they're people who explore and, and they become really anxious if they're put in these linear systems of, of of order.
Right. So, but however, if you wanna be productive, even as an artist, and we talk about this in Bold School, we're, we're learning, and we're teaching skills, and skill building, and muscle memory in just simply knowing how to do specific types of brush work. You have to be more linear in your approach to skill building because you have to learn that skill. You have to study it, and you have to practice it. And it has to be done in order. You can't practice something you haven't learned. And if you don't practice it, if you don't just get, um, into this like space of, of just, just doing this over and over again, there's no innovation there, it's just practice. And productivity happens when you get in line. You have this linear look on what you need to get done, and you, you go through the steps and you get them done.
And we like them because we all know whether you're sick of it or not, when you look on, uh, social media and from people who are especially starting trying to sell things, they're like, three tips for this and five tips for that, and 10 tips for something else. And it drives me crazy, but I actually click on them. I'm like, okay, there, you got three ideas for me to get better at that? I'm happy. I wanna learn three ways to get better. And so I actually like it, and I know that, um, well, I just know that it works. People want it. Even creative people want those three tips. They click on it. We do ads, like, that and people click on them. So, we, we do, even if we don't wanna admit it, we do like to be linear. We do like to be productive and in order.
So it's, it's just kind of good to understand those two spaces. When you're innovating, you wanna stay on the edge of order and chaos. You wanna be living in that non-linear life. And then when you need to be productive, and you need to get the work done, and as artists, we need to produce lots of art. We need to run businesses, we need to get the job done, you move into that linear ordered space, and you just get the work done. So, just recognizing that we're allowed to move between them, we're not stuck somewhere. Your identity is not just living on the edge where you're about to die any second
Yeah. And you know, since you've mentioned that you love tips, we do have a few tips today. Um,
Yeah. We have a few tips about getting your studio in order, but remember it's the order that you need and I, I just wanna slip this in there that you know how everything on Instagram seems to be beautiful and even artists studios are always so beautiful and it's always in this like, presented, you know, I, I've had this like insecurity that if I really showed what my studio looked like, like , I'd be the little laughing stock of Instagram because it's, it's messy. But in my order, like, I know exactly where everything is. Like, you mentioned earlier in the show, I know where it all is, but it's the order that I need. And so I'm just gonna start showing it how it is. I've, I've decided that I, I think Instagram can handle it.
I think so too. And it's really interesting cause we have an ad right now out on Bold School, and you may have even come to our podcast watching us because you first saw this ad, and it's me standing, um, in front of my easel, my easel's behind me on this side, but you can't see it 'cuz the painting's covering it up. And it's a really big easel. And I'm standing behind a painting, and my studio is all nice and tidy and clean. And my white leather couch, which is now moved behind, behind the camera here, um, is in the shot. And everyone, all the comments below are like, this is a fake picture because your studio is too clean, it's too pretty. Everything is too much this, and too much that. Basically, they're seeing it's too orderly. And if I'm a successful artist, I can't produce in that orderly space. But they don't see that my couch is old. It's got, it's held together with duct tape. There's like these, these rugs that you can sort of see there. They're covered in paint, they're dirty.
And I can test that. Charla's studio definitely has its paint splatters, and we were hanging on a photo gallery wall for a class that we were filming, and there was paint all over it. We were strategically trying to hang paintings to cover the paint splashes.
And that's the wall behind me.
She's definitely a working artist no matter how clean the studio looks in the podcast or the ads for Bold School.
Yeah. So it, it's funny that we're doing this right now cause that ad is circulating right now, and there's so many comments below talking about how I'm a fake artist because I'm way too orderly in my picture.
Splash some paint around, say I'm a real artist. I'm a real artist.
Yeah. So I'm working on a reel that I'm gonna post showing my, the real chaos in my studio if that's what they need to see.
And remember, it's not chaos. It's the order, you bring it to the order that you need. And so, order does not mean neat and tidy, and chaos does not mean dirty or disorganized. It's that we find the order as creatives that we need in order to function to be productive. Whether that's linear or whether we're jumping all around to make it happen creatively. Um, but Charla has the great tip of saying to carve out four workspaces. I'll just share the tips and then let's, let's uh, jump on the ones that light you up. You talk about carving out four workspaces, about having the right bins and boxes to organize about, um, not forgetting to have a workspace to be in business. So, a business are. And knowing where your tools are so you don't get out of flow looking for tools, which I do all, I do do all the time. Although it's funny that I just said for Instagram, I know, know where everything is, but I don't always know where everything is. Having an inspiration wall, um, so that you're stimulated and visually inspired. And having lights so that you can work at any time of day. So. let's jump on the ones that you really wanna mention here on the show today, Charla.
Yeah. So in, um, my class on Bold School called Bold Color Bootcamp, I actually have an entire lesson based on setting out your workspaces. And I kind of, this is where I say to carve out your four workspaces, which would be, um, like, your create space, your cleanup space, your rest space, and your workspace, which would be, um, your business workspace. So, your create space is your easel, and where you, you, you create and you make your art. Carve that space out and have all of your tools for doing that specific kind of art. And maybe it's all of the types of art that you do is in the space. And it can be big. Like, I right now have a large studio, nice, uh, studio that was built to be a studio, but I didn't always. I used to be in the basement. I know some incredible artists who actually just paint at their kitchen table, and they are running a full business by doing that.
So, you can make these spaces anywhere. They can be tiny, they can be all together in one little room, or they could be separated and, and very big and fancy and professional. Um, it doesn't really matter their size, it's just really carving out that space. So, you have your create space where everything is there, you know, where everything is, all the tools, everything that you need so that when you're working and your in flow, you can grab your tools and you can do what you need to do to create your art. And you have a cleanup space, which is just slightly separate from your workspace because you don't need the mess of cleanup, and drying brushes, and dirty towels, or whatever. You don't want that in your create space 'cuz it can mess with the vibe and the energy of that space. And then you have a rest space.
So, in Bold Color Bootcamp, I show you my white couch that has duct tape all over it. It used to be our living room couch, and my kids and pets destroyed it, and now it's in my studio. Um, and that I, that's where I call my rest space because it's where I can just sit and read a book, or I can sit back and look at my art. Right now I actually consider, like behind me you see this, uh, that side, this chair, that's kind of my rest space. If I'm working on my easel, I can sit there and look at my art, and just kind of sit back, drink my coffee, eat my lunch, whatever I wanna do in my space because I like to, I don't wanna have to go to my living room and just exit that space. I like to be able to see what's happening and stay in the energy of that moment.
So, that's the rest space. Or take a nap if you have a couch. And then you have your workspace, which is your computer space, wherever your computer is, your laptop, all your business organization. 'Cuz as a working artist, even if you're not, um, even if it's your side hustle, and it's not your day job yet, you're still a working artist, and you've got, got work to do that requires a computer. So, you need a workspace, and that's where you're gonna be orderly, and linear, and your thought patterns have to change in order to work in that space. So, it's really good when you can exit the easel space and move into your desk and computer space because your, your mind will shift, and your energy will shift, and you'll be able, it's like you'll trigger a different type of, of work environment and work ethic maybe you could say.
And that's why these spaces, I think, they can be organized however you want them to be. Whatever you like in those spaces. But be ready to work when you get there, so you don't have to now put your easel away and bring out your computer. That it, it's, it's difficult to do that. Now, it might be that your space requires that, so then you can just have a system of cleaning your easel up and bringing your workspace out. Um, but having it, the point is that having it all together in complete chaos creates utter confusion. And to innovate there or to be productive there is gonna be really, really hard. So, carving out four spaces is a really great way to just begin, um, creating a system and a process in your, an order in your creative space.
Yes. That makes sense. For sure. And you know, you were talking about your rest area, your rest space. I hauled a big old armchair up into my studio. And you've been in my studio the halls are very narrow. It was a building that was built in the 1940's, and I don't think this chair is ever coming out again. So, I'm stuck with the rest. I have to use that chair. I, I made a joke the other day that I think the only way it's getting back out of my studio is to bring a chainsaw and cut it in half 'cause that's how tricky it was to get it. And you know what? I forgot to say, the famous Friends quote, "Pivot," when we were moving that chair into my studio. and I totally should've. I missed the moment. I texted my son afterwards, big capital Pivot. And he got it.
But, you know, um, just to, to bring in the conclusion today of all that we've talked about between order and chaos, you know, I, I just really want artists to know, and to first to know that you're not alone in the, in the times that we feel messy and disorganized and, like, you have too many ideas, and too much is going on in your life, and you feel like you're jumbled. This is normal, too. Being a creative person is, is this multifaceted process of just funneling all, all that we are into our art. And you're not alone. And here on the podcast, we are just really looking at ways that we can help artists get more organized, use our time wisely, be more productive in the studio because your art matters. That's why I think Charla and I have become so passionate about these subjects involving, um, productivity
And even here today about ordering chaos because you getting your art made, getting your art done really matters. We want to see it come into the world. One of the ways you can do that is, is by joining us here at Bold School. If you check out boldschool.com, hop on our newsletter list, make sure you're in the know of everything that we've got happening, lots of new classes, um, lots of teaching on color, and color theory and values, and just things, principles and skills that are gonna change your art, build you into a better, more skillful artist. And so do join us at Bold School. Make sure that, um, you're checking us out on Social Media, @boldschoolinc. And until next time, we hope that you keep creating.