I’ve never been one for art.

In fact, I could probably count the amount of art galleries I’ve visited on one hand.

Am I uncultured? Probably.

Am I a heathen? Possibly.

I feel that, as a creative, I should probably rectify this – I’ve always had an eye for design, but have never let it flourish – preferring to spend my creative time around words.

So, as I’ve completely changed my surroundings recently, I’ve decided to surround my new room with some art.

Not too much.

But just enough.

A couple of images that will make me think. Because, that’s what good art should do.

The first one is Picasso’s ‘3 musicians’ (which you can see above) – and not just because it was cheap in a Cyber Monday sale…


Just because the things I create centre around paragraphs, full stops and hyphens – it doesn’t mean I can’t be inspired by something else.

Perhaps I should visit a few art galleries when I have some free time. I can see a new series of blog posts beginning – ‘Understanding Art: An Idiot’s Guide’.

Watch this space.

(image credit: wikipedia)

The Art of Storytelling

The art of storytelling has changed over the years. Constantly evolving to fit and adapt to the new mediums that are continually emerging.

Whether you’re writing novels or telling your brand’s story via marketing, it’shard work.

At times it can almost feel as if the world is against your chances of success…

After all, it’s so easy to start a website or a blog these days, that anyone can call themselves a writer. Whether they can write or not (ahem).

So with the more chattering digital mouths there are around it’s even harder for us to tell our stories. Even the best voices struggle to be heard in a bustling crowd.

But storytellers are still vital to the world. Even if there are more of them. The best ones will stand the test of time, the bad ones (hopefully) won’t.


(Cacofonix, the fictional bard from ‘Asterix the Gaul’)

If it wasn’t for the writers, bards and artists of the past there’s very little that we’d know about our history.

This tale, coming to you from ancient Mongolia, is one that I always use to remind me of the importance of storytelling:

How Tales Originated among the Mongol People:

“Once upon a time, the Black Death descended on Central Asia and began its assault on the people of Mongolia.

Thousands fled, leaving the sick, and as they fled they said ‘We must try to escape. Let Fate decide the Destiny of the suffering.’

Among the sick there was a young boy called Tarvaa. For days Tarvaa’s body battled the forces of death but finally, weak and feverish, the young man lost all awareness of this world. Tarvaa’s spirit thought that young Tarvaa had died.

The spirit left Tarvaa and rose up out of the boy’s body and started the sad journey to the Underworld.

On arrival the Great Khan of the Underworld said to Tarvaa ‘Why have you left your body while it is still alive? Why have you come to my Kingdom?’

Trembling with fright, Tarvaa’s spirit replied, ‘Great Khan, all my family and all my friends who remained in that World stood over my body and said I was dead. I did not wait for the terrible last moment, but simply left on my journey to you.’

The Khan was touched by the simplicity and honesty of Tarvaa’s spirit. He told the spirit gently, ‘Young spirit, your time has not yet come. You do not belong here. You must return. But before you set out on your long journey home, I will grant you one gift. You may choose and take back with you anything from my Kingdom that you desire.’

Tarvaa looked around, and saw all earthly joys and talents – wealth, happiness, laughter, luck, music and dance. ‘Give me the art of storytelling’, he said, for he knew that stories can summon up all other joys.

The Khan then instructed the spirit, ‘Now return home at once. Use this gift well in life, and do not come here again until you have been called!’ So he returned to his body, only to find that the crows had pecked out the eyes. Since he could not disobey the Khan of the Underworld he re-entered his body.

Young Tarvaa recovered from the Black Death and lived on, blind, but with the knowledge of all tales. For the rest of his life, Tarvaa would travel to the far corners of the Mongol lands recounting wonderful tales and legends to his people and bringing joy and wisdom.”

(I first learnt this story in John Man’s fantastic book, Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection)







Is art art ‘cos of where it is?

It’s worth remembering that art, like many things in life, can be very subjective.

In fact sometimes the setting can make art seem more like…well…art…than the actual piece itself.

It was May 2016 and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was awash with visitors, as it usually is.

One particular corner of the museum was considerably busier than the others. The staff thought was weird as there was nothing extra special there.

When they went to investigate further, they found this unusual display…

(Photo credit: The Independent)

Modern art, right? A pair of glasses at an unusual angle – simple and understated, yet still keeping an eye on the world around them.


It was a prank by a local teenager.

But, for several hours it had blended in with everything else around the gallery. To the point where people were taking photos and marvelling at it – it even survived being shattered by clumsy feet!

So there we go, with the right border around it (e.g. a gallery) even the most mundane thing can look like art.

Whenever you find yourself stuck for creativity, remind yourself of this.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you can always take the wheel and put it somewhere else to see how it looks.

In a world where nearly everything is done, it’s about finding originality in life’s endless dĂ©jĂ  vu while changing the border around it to present it to your audience.

Some mysteries don’t need to be solved…


I’m a fan of Banksy’s works, and it makes me sad to see how the media are hellbent on finding out his identity.

Some mysteries just don’t need to be solved. As long as a fellow creative isn’t doing evil by being anonymous, I think we should let them have their secrecy.  In fact, in my opinion, he’s doing a lot of good as he is.

Have I ever wondered who he is?

Yeah, sure I have.

But, that doesn’t mean I have to know. I think sometimes, as a society, we’re so keen on getting what we want we don’t stop to think ‘do I actually need to do this?’.

Let’s save our newspaper pages for reporting the real hard-hitting facts about the things we do need to know. And by that I do mean facts, no fake news.

You need the CLICK.

I feel I should start off with a disclaimer – this isn’t about the really mediocre Adam Sandler film from a few years back.

Ha, what’s that you say…?

Which mediocre Adam Sandler film?!

You joker, you!

I mean the one that’s actually called ‘Click‘, of course.

This is what I mean by ‘the click’…

When I was at first school, circa mid-late 90s, there was a kid I used to sit near who never really said anything.
Looking back now, I guess he was super-shy.
If you posed him with a question, he’d simply write his answer on his notepad and show it to you.

Whenever I tried to ask him anything, all he seemed to do was draw a picture of a stick man.

This confused me.

I wanted to borrow a rubber once. He scrawled something down, and tilted his notepad to show me.

It was a picture of a stick man.


In the end I went with the cavalier attitude of helping myself to the rubber. He never told me off, so I assumed all was fine.

One day, not long after he’d drawn one of his stick men, his notepad fell onto the floor and I picked it up.

As I handed it to him I saw that the word ‘OK’ was written on it. For a minute I was perplexed – how had a drawing of a stick man turned into the word OK?


I was always looking at his notepad sideways on!

He was writing the word ‘OK’!

It was just that, due to the way he wrote it and the angle I viewed it from (kinda sideways on), it looked like a stick man!

That was it. That was the ‘click’ moment. Something clicked for me that I’d been trying to understand for ages. Boy, did my eight year old self feel a fool for not working it out sooner.

I feel that we should translate this to writing. When you’re putting together text for an audience to read, it needs to flow. Nothing turns a reader off more than when they snag on a word or a sentence.

I have no authority on the subject…but I reckon that, if a reader snags more than three/four times while reading something, they’ll give up unless it’s important.

Before you post or share anything, you need to make sure it clicks. You need to review what you’ve written and keep on editing until it flows.

Edit it until it reads so smoothly that it feels as if the reader doesn’t even need to concentrate to read it.

Because you want everyone to read your content. You don’t want 70% to think you mean ‘OK’, and the other 30% to think you mean ‘stick man’.

As they say, writing is re-writing. If it doesn’t click, it doesn’t read well.

Next time you’re in front of that Word document, keep going until you CLICK.