Artists Show the Real Toronto

Hopefully next week Toronto will have a new mayor (vote Gil Penalosa!) and oust the mediocre John Tory. Mayor Tory is infamous for not leading not making any real decisions except for helping car drivers drive through the city, which will cost the people of Toronto half a billion dollars. He’s not a good mayor yet he has a chance of winning. To bring attention to Tory’s ineptitude artists have created the #austerityTO project.

“Looking around the city, this is his work of art. This is the thing that he has created in his time of office,” said James McLeod, a communications manager and former journalist who helped create the project. “The long-term austerity has led to these increasingly absurd situations in our city that are really striking when you have the eyes to see them.”

“We were trying to take what is obviously a lack of vision for the city – and reinterpret it as though it were a clear, deliberate vision,” he said.

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This Book Can Improve Your Creativity

The recently released book, Jam This Game, explores concepts of creativity and creation in the world of game design. You may find it challenging tot be creative on demand and this book wants to help you overcome that hurdle. The book is about the games industry however the chapters on creativity can be useful to anyone engage in a creative practice. Full discourse, I wrote the foreward to the book and if you follow the link below you will find a secret twist about the creation of the book.

Making video games is a challenge unto itself and getting a start in the games industry is equally challenging. Jam This Game reveals insights into the industry while providing advice to improve your creative process.
Ashton Irving, an industry expert, provides a comprehensive guide to help you think of video game design and how to start your creative process.
With more games being made than ever before how will you ensure your’s stands out? By providing prompts of ideas for a game within the book you will find new ways to come up with video game ideas.
Chapters will help you improve your teamwork and communication, or help you better think about the games industry at large.
If you’re working on a game already – great! These idea prompts are still useful to help you add fun to your game.

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Want to be more Creative? Use a Schedule

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Depictions of creativity in popular culture show people getting a sudden spark or realization that sets them off. The creative idea or moment arrives randomly. Unfortunately that’s not the best way to approach a creative process, instead you should use a schedule.

It might sound odd that in order to be more creative one must constrain when they’re creative. It makes sense though, and research backs it up!

Creative work is no different than training in the gym. You can’t selectively choose your best moments and only work on the days when you have great ideas. The only way to unveil the great ideas inside of you is to go through a volume of work, put in your repetitions, and show up over and over again.

Obviously, doing something below average is never the goal. But you have to give yourself permission to grind through the occasional days of below average work because it’s the price you have to pay to get to excellent work.

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How Dar Jacir Supports Artists in Exposing Colonialism

In Bethlehem a group of artists founded an organization, Dar Jacir, which set out to support artists in Palestine and beyond. Dar Jacir is a an art and research centre that’s currently grabbling with the fallout of the latest bombings by Israel in the last few months. Despite the damage done, the organization is still set on supporting artists express themselves and their frustrations in a creative way. No matter how much conflict there is, artists will find a way!

What Dar Jacir is doing is incredibly important. It’s so hard to have a space like this, especially in Bethlehem, where it’s right next to the Israeli wall. It’s trying to create something in a place you know is going to be bombarded over and over again. Conceptually, it’s an act of resistance – now, more than ever, when Bethlehem finds itself completely isolated because of the wall and the increasing settlements around the city. It’s very difficult to go to Ramallah, which used to be a 40 minutes’ drive. Now, it takes two hours – sometimes more, with all the checkpoints.

The nice thing about art institutions is that they’re a bit subversive in that sense. They can host artists from other places, even places that the country is officially at war with. It helps make a link between what is going on in Lebanon and Syria and Palestine. It’s something that is very important for our unity and for resisting the colonial structures that we’re fighting against.

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Artists Want You to Better Know Your Land

A series of thought provoking art works commissioned by Toronto History Museums wants to shake up your understanding of local history. The collective project called Awakenings approaches tales from the past that have gone unheard, or highlight the efforts of people traditional ignored by historians. The project isn’t just about recognizing the past, it’s also about recognizing the present. The ongoing series features features local Black, Indigenous and artists of colour in all aspects of its creation. The short films are powerful and here’s hoping that they change the modern discourse of history.

“When you acknowledge this land and its history, what are you actually acknowledging? Do you know who these nations are?” asks actor Nadia George. Well, do you? Watch and learn a few things about the city’s Indigenous origins, such as the 250,000 acres, stretching from the lakeshore up to King City, sold to the British for a paltry 10 shillings, worth about $40 today.

“It’s really a call to action. So when you see all of the different … artistic interventions, they’re meant as a jumping-off point. So we’re not just illustrating what took place; we’re saying, OK, how does it relate to the present? And how can it help shape our future?”

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