Peony and Parakeet

Transfer Your Expertise to Your Art

Introvert, an art journal page and a postcard, by Peony and Parakeet

If you want to grow as an artist, the best advice anyone can give you is this: Recognize your expertise and bring it to your art! If you breathe art and only art, you will become shallow and miserable, and it will also show in your art.

When I left my day job a year ago, I would not have said all this. I had my last days marked on the calendar (a special gift from a friend from the UK!) and I could not wait to forget most of the things I had learned from developing IT systems.

Paivi from Peony and Parakeet

But the more I got distance from my past, the more I began to realize why I chose computers before art some 25 years ago. I realized that I also love to think, not only create. When I get a crazy idea, I try to put it into a logical form too. The architecture of computer systems still inspires me. Layering, hierarchy, interfaces … all those are concepts that I often apply to my art too. Being accurate and always questioning why – these basic nerd characteristics continue to describe me.

Pleasurable drawing with a thin drawing pen, by Peony and Parakeet

In the eyes of a systems developer, the world is full of details that have to be edited and classified.

Postcards by Peony and Parakeet

I have realized that the more I show my understanding in my art, the more it also relates to other people. They don’t have to be computer engineers to feel drawn to my art. Behind every expertise, there are values that communicate much more widely.

Enjoying colored pencils, by Peony and Parakeet

In computer science, innovations are constantly made. People working in the field always have to be ready to learn new things. And not only that, but they also have to make existing systems work with the latest technology, so they are constantly adapting old with the new. For me, creating new from the history of art and design is one way to use that skill.

Postcards by Peony and Parakeet

I believe that when people say they don’t know what to create, they overlook their expertise. It is not very easy to notice all the things you already know and deeply comprehend. In information technology, it is common knowledge that the projects where many systems are integrated together are the trickiest ones. I used to manage that kind of projects. I became interested in them after I realized:  if you really want to build something that will have a bigger impact, integration is the key.

Creating of an art journaling page, by Peony and Parakeet

When you begin to integrate your other expertise to your art, I am pretty sure that things get … just like in IT projects … a bit rough. Different values and opinions will fight, and co-operation seems impossible at first. But after the merging process begins, you will be more creative, and you will have much more to express than ever before.

Free Spirit, a painting and a postcard by Peony and Parakeet

When I create art, I try to always arrange the time for the little nerd inside me. I know that if I just let my creativity decide, there’s a nagging voice inside my head saying: “You could do this better, why did you do that …” By taking breaks and thinking before creating, I accept my past and the part of my personality that is more logical than creative.

Postcards by Peony and Parakeet

When you hear your inner critic speaking, maybe it is the voice of your expertise! Maybe part of you is disappointed not to get fully involved. Make your inner critic work with you, not against you!

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P.S. You can buy postcards at Paivieerola.com

14 thoughts on “Transfer Your Expertise to Your Art

  1. The picture you have with a blurring photo behind the clear one really emphasizes the words you have given me today. I love your first two sentences – words full of truth. I ordered the postcards and thanks so much for sharing your work in a way I can afford.

  2. Interesting, Paivi. I was also a computer programmer for many years, in the 1970s and 1980s. I left programming in 1993 to pursue my art. I can see what you mean about logic and attention to detail required for IT being applied to art, but I never thought of it that way before. Thank you for this inight!

  3. My life’s expertise is in the human body, and the energy that flows into and around it. With your words of encouragement I shall now look to integrate that “touchy freely” knowledge into my love of art!
    Thank you.

  4. My expertise has been in the deep striving for spiritual expansion and conscious awareness. I wonder how that will translate in my art? Hmmmm . . . I do know I read energy and I am more a visionary than a concrete logical type person. I am sure those leanings will be showing up in the art :). Thanks Paavi!

    1. Francie, sometimes it can be beneficial to compare personal values and pricipals with someone who is from a totally different field. It is sometimes difficult to see all the things that are included in your own expertise.

  5. You combine the best parts of your brain, logic and creativity, i.e., left and right sides. I think your work shows the best of both. Your courage to use color so vividly inspires me.

  6. When you said that trying to integrate your expertise with your art can be a bit of a struggle, I agreed! Sometimes its difficult to do an artistic interpretation of a more logical subject. But you may be right the struggle may be worth it if you become successful at combining the two. You would be more original probably in subject matter and techniques! My area is anthropology.

    1. June, I think art is often the question of identity and professional identity is part of it. Anthropology – examining human life, cultures and their differences – sounds really inspiring!

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