How to Break Through Creative Blocks as an Artist (From One Who Knows)

Justin Kane Elder

What do you do when you hit a creative block? That soul-crushing moment when you hate everything, and all your budding, fragile ideas seem like total garbage? According to professional artist, Justin Kane Elder, the answer to getting over this creative hurdle is easy: “Play!”

Justin Kane Elder Mural CreativeLive SF

Justin recently visited the CreativeLive offices in San Francisco to take part in our large-scale rotating art instillation. In his piece, Justin started with a giant wheat paste of Basquiat, then proceeded to “attack” the remaining space with a kaleidoscope of bold colors, stream-of-consciousness statements about love and life, magazine clippings . . . and socks.

Justin Kane Elder Mural Hands

You see, Justin uses his entire body to create his art, which can get a bit messy. So in order to save his kicks from the markings of paint, he created this piece shoeless and taped his socks to the wall after he was done. A sort of signature to his tactile creation, you could say.

Justin Kane Elder tall Mural

And really, that describes Justin’s method in a nutshell — completely kinetic, fantastically free, playful, and bold. He’s been known to use bright colors and recognizable figures in his art — ranging from Darth Vader to Willie Nelson and now, Basquiat— but the one thread that runs through his work is perpetual motion, freedom, and a sense of playfulness underneath it all.

So it makes sense that his advice to those artists that are inching their way through a Death Valley of creativity, is to get outside and play. “Get out. Go have fun. That’s gonna shake up your battery and recharge you every time.”

So now you know.

You can catch Justin Kane Elder’s solo show at WhiteWalls SF through February 12, and the video below to learn more about his methods.

Kristy Ellington

Head of content marketing and social media at Creativelive.