A New Year = A New You

I am not going to get into the history of Minimalism and Art, but rather the Art of Living. This December I took a 30-day hiatus to reboot and revamp. Truly, I only started what I hope will become a practice. Of taking only what I need. As I reduce, reuse and recycle… in that order.

In this post I will share what Minimalism means to me after putting together my first solo show Human.Nature. And how I have applied these principles to the new and improved website.

REDUCE (your chaos)

Less is More. I think they put this one first because it is the most important. This concept should not only be applied to physical clutter, but also virtual and mental clutter. By allowing less distractions into your space and life, you can focus more on your experiences and goals.

One day I went to a workshop with my beautiful friend Chrissi Van Dyk, and I said to her: “Next time, shouldn’t we rather get together and experiment with what we have learnt, rather than listen to more advice on things we never practice?” And then that is what I did… I spent hours exploring light and dancing in front of the camera. And it was fun. And I made ART.

Video art installation exploring the metamorphosis of a soul. Human.Nature is a collaboration between myself and my partner, Matthew Harvey and was installed at my first solo exhibition at Berman Contemporary art gallery in Sandton.
Still from Human.Nature video installation

“What you don’t have you don’t need it now, what you don’t know you can feel somehow”
It’s a beautiful day | U2

REUSE (your skills)

Practice makes perfect. I used to be a “Yes Man”, excepting every challenge. This required of me to learn new skills for every other job (which in itself isn’t a bad thing). However, this meant I was doing many things, seldom; rather than deeply practicing a few things, often. Through repetition you will be able to tune into some skills or tasks automatically, allowing yourself to be more productive and creative. When you can anticipate possible road-blocks and navigate your way through them with experience as your guide, you can begin to focus on your priorities and narrow down your interests. Whether you are selling or buying a service or product, choose that which brings you joy and makes you proud. Choose quality over quantity.

I, for one, am personally attached to everything I have ever made. Choosing what to include in a portfolio or product line can be sentimental torture. Selecting the final works to exhibit, I had to let go off pieces that did not fit in with the message of the series. And as we will discuss in the next segment, subject matter matters.

Contemporary art conceptual portraiture prints on wall at Berman Contemporary gallery in Sandton showing how minimalism creates clean spaces by fine art photographer Natalie Field
Human.Nature cinematic tableaux at Berman Contemporary

RECYCLE (your ideas)

“Work smarter, not harder”
Sylvia Edworthy

These were the words from my graphic design lecturer at the Nelson Mandela University. And boy! Was she right? She sure was.
Repetition will not only increase productivity. It also gives your subject matter weight. For example, using the same botanical elements to create photomontage, cyanotype and installation pieces for the Human.Nature series, I could explore the concepts “of life, the universe and everything in it” using various mediums to visually express my ideas. Having only come across a handful of wildflowers during my month visiting Finland, these symbols of Nature seemed even more precious to me and I wanted to narrate this through the work.

minimalism approach of recycling showing same red clover botanical element used in art installation, photomontage and cyanotype by Natalie Field
Red Clover botanical element repeated in installation, photomontage and cyanotype

And that brings me to the core of this post: Our New Website!

We have designed our new website around these three Minimalist principles.

REDUCE. We have simplified the layout with your viewing pleasure in mind. The web design has moved away from the myriad of portfolio pages that require action to click through. And we now provide minimal one page portfolios that gives visitors a quick overview of the work that is relevant to their genre. We have also focused our selection to reflect the creative projects we are passionate about.

REUSE. Keeping a consistent template throughout, we have taken the guess work out of navigating the site. Making it more about the work and services than complex web development.

RECYCLE. Off course we didn’t want to spend the whole holiday working. So, we worked smarter, not harder. Re-using the template saved both money and time during the initial layout and allowed us to up-cycle the existing website rather than start from scratch. Rather than re-invent the wheel, use it as a starting to point: maybe build a cart and travel down the road to discover new possibilities.

Minimalism is a lifestyle

This “website is just the tip of the iceberg”, to quote my friend Warren Field. Minimalism is more about a lifestyle change. I invite you to join me in the challenge of taking only what I need, being grateful for what I already have, and letting go of that which no longer serves.