Creative Advice from My Mom

A while back we interviewed a variety of people about their approach to creative work on Supercharged. One of those people was my mother, Toni Dachis. She’s an artist and has spent her whole life finding new ways to think creatively. Here are a few of her thoughts.

The Creative Process

Know yourself. You can’t create from within if you are only living from without. You have to have a message. You have to Have a purpose. Do something that matters to you. Be passionate about everything you do. Sometimes it takes a long time. And it will change over time, so keep exploring and learning and trying and interacting. Know how you relate to the world. Know what’s going on in the world. Embrace your uniqueness. Don’t compromise in order to fit in. There already are lots of those, but only one of you.


Learn what inspires you. How you work at your best. My routine is I need it to be quiet without distractions. Then when I have a few ideas, I jot them down. Then I explore the world. See what clicks with me and how I can best get my point across. Or how I want it to appear. I find meditation helps me to focus on opening up my mind to let ideas flow. Keep a notebook, sketchbook, recordings, anything to record thoughts, visions, ideas that strike you for some reason or another.

Make something. Do something to it. Now do something else to it. When you think something is finished, remove one thing. Whether you are drawing, writing, performing you don’t have to tell the whole story. Tell enough to make the audience think about it. Create discussion. You have to think how to do something in every which way.

Take a piece of paper. You can cut it, fold it, tear it, color it, crumple it, wet it, burn it, stitch it, stain it, weave it, etc. etc. Bring in other unlikely materials or ideas that you don’t usually use. Start at the end and work backwards.

Pretend your work has been written up in the newspaper. What did it say? Now make that piece. If you’re stuck, look at other’s work. Listen to others. If you have to copy it, do so in order to learn. Then do it with your own input. Change it, twist it, turn it.

To find out more about Toni Dachis and her artwork, please visit her web site.