SPOTLIGHT

Feature articles created by guest contributors and collaborators on subjects they have their EYE ON...

I SIT IN THE CORNER...

Words by Brandon Oliver @brandonoliver2 | Illustrated by Miriam Bean @miriambean.art

I sit in the corner, and look at the paintings.

Do you ever feel guilty for liking a show that has tanked to the bottom of the barrel on Rotten Tomatoes, or make a judgement about whether or not we should watch a film or a TV series based on the critics reviews we see online, or become not sure about a new video game because of the hearsay and discourse from friends?  All over we are surrounded by magazine articles, YouTube reviews, hashtags and memes along with whispers and shouts echoing way past the end credits. And it sets up a context of how we should see a piece of art before experiencing it for ourselves. Does this ultimately detract from our experience of the piece of art, or help us make our own decisions on what we feel about it?

The nature of all critiquing of any piece of art, it can never be completely objective through the simple nature of the human condition. We can lose ourselves in arguments and disorientate ourselves with pre-expectations and finished product (no one has never walked out of a cinema disappointed at least once after hype for a film). And that is some of the joy of art, becoming so passionate that we have those heated debates late at night with anyone and everyone who mentions a word about it. It is a right of passage for anyone who is a fan of anything, and a tradition that is probably as old as art itself.

This process of having views of art before you experience it yourself also seems to be an organic, breathing mutation of the transient nature of the internet. We have this opportunity like never before to express our enthusiasm and passion for art through critical analysis that we can express freely on the internet on forums or by making our own videos/ writing our own reviews for all the world to see. But the trade off for this seems like we sometimes pay more attention to these critiques than the piece of art itself. What’s more, we consequentially become in danger of spending too much time pulling apart the creations we consume (be it art, music, TV, films, exhibitions, whatever) rather than marvelling that they exist and considering how their presence has an inevitable trajectory of influence on our own wellbeing and outworld view.

 

With the advent of the internet, the thing to remember is when to recognise your subjective take on it and merge it as best you can with what objectively has merit and what are the fall-backs.

The thing is this: the art you consume is your journey, it surrounds your story and plants itself firmly as the roots of who you are and you will be. If we can hold on to that notion, then we can block out all other voices of their journey and their story and simply sit in the corner, and look at the paintings.

CREATIVITY AND WELLBEING

Words by Brandon Oliver @brandonoliver2 | Illustrated by Miriam Bean @miriambean.art

It is November, late on a Monday evening... ages ago Eye On Leicester messaged me asking to write a piece about creativity and wellbeing. "Sure!" I said merrily without a second thought and all the enthusiasm in the world! 

Now I’m sat here in front of my laptop screen and I am stumped.

 

I have no idea what to write.  But I feel that I need to make a voice heard about not only the simple joy that comes with creativity, but also the amazing effects it has on our very beings, our communities, our communications, our societies…from the very first painting we remember doing, to the current Netflix show that is blowing our minds… to the Instagram story of choreographed dancing to the song you sing to realign yourself with the universe. 

When we are creative, we are primal, in love, fearful, overwhelmed, riddled with boredom, heartbroken, in pain, misunderstood, misunderstanding, drunk, sober, out of luck, or very simply filled with desire to create. But where do you begin with diving into the deep connection that creativity builds with these inner parts of yourself that otherwise stay sound asleep in the humdrum of life, and unravelling the precise effects it has on our own wellbeing? 

We write words down and hide them in a drawer never to be read again, we play out of tune instruments to the chagrin of our neighbours, we doodle quickly on a back of an envelope while in a zoom meeting before disregarding it in a blink of an eye and sending it to the formidable shredder in the corner of our rooms. There’s something so transient about all of these things. A lot of it doesn’t last. 

The remarkable thing is that when we are in that present moment and giving all our psychic neuroses and energy into whatever we’re creating there’s a shift inside you, and if you’re anything like me, once you put the pen down, for whatever reason, you can breathe a little easier. The fact that these lovely little creations might get discarded and forgotten about in less time than we are happy to admit, and might not ever be seen again unless by some divine intervention becomes a mere side note here - the footprints that those creations have on our being echoes throughout us for longer. 

It’s like having a conversation with a friend you really trust and is unconditional, but a few days later you forget what the hell you were talking about, but you still feel better.  And you want to keep seeing that friend and exploring the deeper parts of yourself that they allow you to explore with a complete sincerity and levity. 

Creativity is the thing that anchors us to ourselves and to each other. Maybe I’m going about this all wrong. Maybe all I need to do is forget about the effects and forget about thinking, and just pick a pen up and let the words drift out of my brain....