Express yourself!

Corrina Rothwell

Self-expression is a phrase that seems to have come into my field of vision quite a few times recently. You know how things do sometimes - you see them once and then they just keep cropping up. I always like to think that there's some reason for that, that it's a kind of message that I should take notice of. That's possibly fanciful crap but I think as human beings we like to find meaning and pattern in what can seem a crazy uncontrolled world.
This is the definition of self-expression -
- the expression of one's feelings, thoughts, or ideas, especially in writing, art, music, or dance.
So basically that means that everything I do in the name of my business, be it designing a greeting card or painting a crazy-coloured cat, is self-expression - yet for some reason I don't really see designing cards as expressing myself.
A friend recently said to me that she didn't see her surface pattern as self-expression - clearly it is, it's an expression of her ideas about colour and pattern and design, but I know exactly what she meant.
So is it that there are varying degrees of self-expression? Or is it just that some things are more overtly expressive? To my mind, this isn't an example of me expressing myself!mascara-trauma-greeting-card
But when you think about it, it is - it's an expression of my sense of humour, my colour preferences, my take on life.....
Whereas this (which is a picture of my kitchen wall when I first moved into my house 19 years ago!) feels like true self-expression......
graffiti-painted-kitchen-wall does this, a huge painting I did at an artist friend's house after several pints of beer!
Maybe what I'm getting at is a sense of something more physical, more bodily expressive in its production. Or is it about the level of emotion that goes into creating a piece of work?  I don't know the answer, there may not even be an answer! I just know that after a certain length of time creating 'designed' work I get an increasingly urgent need to 'express myself', which usually means getting the paints out and getting my hands dirty......which is what I've been doing recently in the form of a large (24" x 24") cat face!
So there you have it, my short, inconclusive ramble on self-expression! Over and out.
Corrina x


  • I think self expression is an essential element of creativity. I sometimes find it really hard to “be creative” to order – commissions might bring in the pennies, but they don’t always come easily because they involve fulfilling someone else’s vision rather than my own. I find that I need a side-project purely for my own self-expression, to help keep the creative wheels turning – when I tried to focus entirely on commissions I just ended up doing nothing at all except feeling guilty!


  • Excellent blog Corrina. Thought provoking re the split between expression and the design process.

    Helena Tyce

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