Inspiring Reading on Sunday Mornings in my Kitchen in Berlin – 15.01.2017

Yesterday I was, what my boyfriend likes to call, “full of beans.” Why? Because for a while now, I have been feeling the need to re-define my impulse.

They say that the mark of a good artist – whether it be a musician, painter, photographer, or any other kind of artist – is that their work is immediately identifiable as their work. There is something remarkable and signature about it. When you see a Mapplethorpe, you immediately know it’s a Mapplethorpe. When you watch a Quentin Tarantino or Wes Anderson film, it’s unmistakably theirs. Such artists have defined their style so much so, that oftentimes, other people have sought to emulate it or satirically copy it. I think it all has to do with collecting specific remarkable elements that when used in combination define an artist.

This is a beautiful thing, and if you are able to attain this kind of consistency in your voice as an artist, you should be proud of yourself. That being said, there is also something extremely limited about being defined by your own style. Because one you define it, it’s not the easiest task to change. That is, unless you choose to take a cue from Picasso and establish different periods or create work under different artist names. However, this is a lot harder in the age of instagram, where our curated feeds need to establish a cohesive look.

It’s quite ironic that what defines a successful artist also goes against the heart of art in many ways as well. For once an artist reaches what they sought out to achieve, they should feel the need to continue to push.

These are the two things that currently plague me as an artist – how to re-define myself but remain cohesive.

My Current Photographic Style via Instagram

Don’t get me wrong – everything I have done for the past view years has gotten me to a point with my photography where I am finally creating what I wanted to create. I am extremely passionate about “lifestyle photography.” But as I have spoken about on LFB before, we are multi-faceted human beings, and – in turn, multi-faceted artists. And I am more than just a certain colour palette and lifestyle photography. There are other photographic styles that inspire me which I would like to put my own twist on.

Recently, I have done just that with both my photography and LFB – by changing my editing style and fonts (here on LFB) to create something a bit more sterile, a bit more analogue looking, a bit more “artistic” rather than “lifestyle.” And I was in a really happy place with all of this. But as of late, I have felt that I have not yet pushed myself to the place I want to be – that I have attained my first personally set benchmark as a photographer, and now need to work towards the next. I also feel this need to create images that to me represent real un-curated life – and the beauty in this kind of imperfection. In addition to this, I feel the need to go deeper with LFB than just visually changing up fonts. (But more on that in a future post.)

These feelings of unrest can be frustrating, but in my humble opinion ultimately define artists from those who create. Because an artist is not just someone who feels an uncontrollable need to create but is also a person who needs to grow with their creations and push their boundaries and skill set. It’s in this unrest that we re-invent ourselves and re-define ourselves and this is exactly why I am still “full of beans” this Monday morning. 016 was “the year of the hustle.” No doubt I will still be hustling like hell in 2017 because that’s the only way to make it – but 2017 is going to be the year of impulse. The year where I take in everything that inspires me, re-establish myself, search for a way to stay cohesive but unbridled, and create create create. And that excites me.

And so I can’t say that I have drawn up a traditional list of resolutions to start off 2017 with – but what I can say is that I have this one overarching goal – to grow with my photography (and grow with my blog and it’s content). I am going to visit more art galleries, purchase more magazines full of incredible photographers and artists and articles, take more photographs, create more artwork, make more music, and grow as an artist. The result may be that I will actually blog less in 2017 so that I have more time to define myself as an artist and work on side projects. But what I can promise is that what you will see here on LFB will be full of even more substance and depth.

In closing, I would like to leave you with a few tips for being “full of beans” this 2017:

1: Consume voraciously

Consume, consume, consume. Not commercially, but visually. Keep your eyes and ears open. Take in all that is around you. Look up. Look down. Visit galleries. Buy inspiring magazines. Tape artwork and photography on your walls. They say there is no such thing as a dumb question. I say there is no such thing as dumb consumption. All that you take in will inform your artwork in some way or another – whether it be to help you define what you do not want to be or to inspire your work further.

2: Create Mood Boards

To create some kind of semblance with what you consume, create mood boards. Establish what inspires you and indiscriminately create mood boards. Then take in what you have collected and try to make sense of it all in order to inform your own work.

3: Create consistently

They say that practice makes perfect, but this is just the half of it. Consistency is the other 50% of the equation. I used to play piano in university and I remember my teacher telling me that it is far more effective to practice for 20 minutes a day every day than sporadically for 2 hours. The same is with any creative process.

4:Demand time for your art

Look, we are all busy. Not only must we work and be their for our family, friends, and partner, we have to jam in all the mundane daily tasks and errands and still find time for ourselves and our art. I’m not saying to skip showering for a week, but what I am saying is that you should not put your art on the bottom of your to-do list. Demand time from yourself and seek understanding from others.

5: Work in medias other than your own

If you are a photographer, explore painting. If you are a painting, explore instillation art. If you are a singer, explore electronic music making. Visual and auditory stimulation come in all different sounds, shapes, sizes, colours, etc.

6: Define yourself by no one’s standards but your own

Push the boundaries you want to push. Show the truth you want to show. There was a time before social media where artists didn’t worry about an image appearing on their instagram or facebook getting them fired. Now, I’m not saying you should be offensive for the sake of it, and I never condone any kind of work that promotes hatred towards others. But I do think that we have grown soft and I want to see people pushing boundaries. I want to meet the next Mapplethorpe in my lifetime – or become him myself.

7: Don’t let social media trends influence your creation

I love instagram and definitely use it as much as magazines and pinterest for finding inspiration. However, I think it is important to not let social media trends hem in your creation. Just because blue tones or super minimalistic white/black photos were really in last year doesn’t mean you should try to define your work by these standards – unless you truly find this inspiring. Push yourself beyond established trends.

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Stay conscious, Rae

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Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.


  • Thank you for sharing these really helpful tips!

    Candice | Beauty Candy Loves

  • thisisallure

    I can reate to this so much. It can be hard to stay consistent with your art style when you are constantly evolving or wanting to try something new. I totally agree that you should try other forms of creativity as a way to explore and develop. It’s also vital that we make time to practice are creativity as it can be so easy to just not do it.

  • These tips are just so great! I can totally relate as a creative myself x

    Jessica — NinetyCo

  • I love this, Rae! Re-defning yourself while still maintaining a sort of consistency is really tough, and I think it’s such a good idea to focus on growing as an artist this year. Your tips are inspiring, too. One of the quotes on my January calendar is actually “Define your own success” so your number 6 tip resonates with me a little extra. Thank you for sharing!

    Kathryn •

  • This is so true!! You should be able to look at a piece and identify the creator. I love your photography style and think your work is so unique. Definitely need to follow these tips!

    Enclothed Cognition

  • Love love love. I started rediscovering my creativity last year and so ready to push it further this year. Feels so good😊 excited to see where you’ll take things too x

  • I agree that it’s a great achievement to be able to create things that can be identified as yours straight away, but at the same time it might be limiting you from discovering what else you can do! Like you said, it’s difficult these days with the idea of needing a “brand” for social media. Excited to hear about all your upcoming projects :)

    Jane / deluminators

  • Such a great read! It’s so hard for most people to reach that point of “branding” but it does come with dedication & practice. I’m still trying to get there but your post has definitely given me motivation & inspiration to keep on pushing through. Thanks for a meaningful read.


  • Excellent tips! Especially, number 3 and 4. Although I love creating, I forget that doing it consistently will help me grow and I am often very inpatient with it. Great post and good luck with re-defining yourself and your art! :)


    I’ve had so many of these same thoughts, and I was so so frustrated in my illustration program in uni that always spoke about harnessing your personal style: I have about 50 styles I like to work in, and I always feel limited when I try to pick one. It’s frustrating as heck.

    Something that has helped me explore my style is working with seniors with dementia, and teaching them art and working alongside them. It’s pushed me to experiment with them, and with myself! Which i love to do.

    Anyway I really love your list and agree about consuming visual material and inspiration. That’s what I’m gonna tell my fella next time he asks me what I’m doing scrolling obsessively through instagram ;) haha

    Have you gone to the Bauhaus museum in Berlin (probably a stupid question)? It’s one of the only places I went there and I was so inspired by everything I saw, I still think about it almost daily.

  • This advices were so good!! Especially number 7. Love reading your thoughts Rae, as always :)

  • ‘Don’t let social media trends influence your creation’ is 100% something that I believe in and try desperately to avoid, but man it’s so hard and so painful to know that if you were to follow the prescribed system at that time, you’d do even better, make sense? Course it does because you get me and you’re awesome :)

  • yes to consuming and creating, exploring other mediums, and of course the other tips too! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  • Sophie Lee

    Love this post so much, these tips are very helpful <3

    xoxo, Cool men fashion

  • While I don’t consider myself an artist I definitely think that’s a trap a lot of people can fall into, whether that’s with photography or social media or making music. Once you do something great and people recognise it as being great, I think a lot of people then start to think, “what next?” which is why a lot of musicians make a second or third album that sound really different to their first. They lose some fans that way but gain others in the process and it’s just about evolving as a person and your art evolving too. I’m sure it’s a really difficult position to be in but I think as long as an artist is creating things that are true to themselves and that they’re proud of then people will sense the integrity and respect that even if there’s been a big change.

    Ps- my boyfriend says full of beans too! haha