Chris Carlier

Make Tiny Pieces of Art, All the Time


Most creative people feel stuck at some point. It’s hard work to constantly make new stuff appear out of nothing. Harder still to continually make stuff that is interesting or doesn’t feel like something you’ve already done.

In 2019, I was in one such rut. I couldn’t come up with any ideas that excited me. Everything felt tired and pointless. I’d noodle around on instruments and record little snippets here and there, but I couldn’t seem to turn anything into any grand ideas or projects. That’s when it struck me: maybe it’s hard to sit down and create a typical, full 3-4 minute recorded piece of music with verse, chorus, verse, bridge… let alone a whole album. But it’s not quite as hard to come up with a 10- or 20-second idea.

So I started looking at all these incomplete snippets differently. What if these weren’t intros to larger pieces? What if all I had to do was bring them to a pleasing conclusion right away? Huh! That still sounds like music to me.

Now, instead of being down on myself for not completing big ideas I come up with, I can be happy just making tiny little pieces of music and sharing them with people. This is the whole basis of my Patreon, by the way.

The same applies to any creative field. You don’t always have to spend weeks or years of your life creating enormous masterpieces. Make a painting the fits in the palm of your hand then leave prints of it around your hometown. Make pointless websites that have one fun functionality or that purposely break in an interesting (and unharmful) way, then send friends the link. Whatever it is, just do it all the time. You can still keep the unfinished stuff in the studio and when big ideas come, you won’t have anything huge on your plate that can’t be put off for a bit.

What are some tiny art ideas you’ve had?