Adult Coloring Books, All The (not so new) Rage

 

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There is a general buzz around the water cooler and for the first time in a while it’s not sport point spreads or Pinterest boards…well, kind of.

This latest and greatest rage was actually brought to my attention from a friend who mentioned the growing popularity of Adult Coloring Books on Pinterest. At first I was aghast, then sort of guffawed. It just seemed so out of the ordinary, but, if true, what an amazing relationship between what we are doing at The Crayon Initiative and this new rumor. So I went and checked. THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of pages and pin-boards dedicated to adult coloring! So I dug a little deeper. Turns out that this movement has been going on underground, for fear of being laughed at, for a very long time.

It also seems that within the last few months, this topic has gained steam like a 100 car freight train approaching a 10% grade….(did I ever tell you that I am a model train enthusiast?) I digress. Most of the pages dedicated to adult coloring books have just as many different places to purchase full books. These are not slightly more challenging pages from the movie Frozen we are talking about, these are often artist inspired templates replete with the details of a Sanskrit Mandala. The are designed to look like the type of meditative walking mazes you might find at a monastery, and for good reason, they serve the same purpose.

Psychiatric professional and Art Therapist Cathy Malchiodi said, “coloring books are a path to mindfulness, meditation and some kind of psychological nirvana” and medical professionals are seeing medical improvements in cancer patients and anxiety disorder patients. We kind of hate to say, “we told you so”, but…

But seriously, this is wonderful news. The benefits of art are not relegated to the youth. Many fortune 500 companies have begun putting coloring books in their break rooms and some college professors have been noted as incorporating them into their syllabuses.

If you really think about the timing of this therapeutic surge, it makes a lot of sense. Studies indicate “most people take a break from their creative hobbies during their transitional years of high school and college, but often return at the age of 26.” Who are these 26-year-olds? Well, they are the Millennials, the very group of people that are shaping all facets of business today. They are outside the box thinkers who are so technology savvy that they demand attention and are getting it. They are also extremely plugged in but know when they are reaching a max capacity for tech activity. Is there really any better way to unplug literally and figuratively than staying inside the lines with bright colors?

We for one applaud the movement and have always stood by the healing properties of art and coloring, heck we are building a company on the principal, but to see the thought of coloring books take center stage and not be scoffed at is more than we could have hoped for.

 

[BLANK] As ART #4, Space

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Simply as a very quick qualifying statement as to not mislead, this blog is not about OUTER space as “art”, but rather wide-open spaces. While I cannot discount the fact that outer space holds many artistic parallels, I have never been there and can’t speak emotionally about it. Perhaps one day I will be able to write from experience on the topic, but not today. Proceed with this knowledge.

 

We have all witnessed that overwhelming feeling when you arrive at an empty beach. That moment when you get to kick off your shoes for the first time and run (and you know you run) over the vastness of the sand towards the waves. Often times and inexplicitly a pirouette, cartwheel or any other physical form of happiness will find it’s way into your romp. This is ART! The feeling of happiness that taps energy so deep in you that it cannot be contained is not unlike hearing the right song at the right moment or witnessing a painting that transcends explanation. This is the exact goal of artists all over the world, to move a person with their creation in an effort to recreate these primal emotional moments.

 

I recently moved my family to farm country. I was not leaving “The Big City” by any stretch, but certainly a hub of commerce, traffic and noise. So much so that for years I have not really seen the stars. Yes the commute is long and yes we are re-learning how/where to shop, but the feeling I get when I truly smell earth, or hear cows somewhere (close) in the night, or see a vast expanse of stars overhead on a crisp fall night have led to emotions that I have been unfamiliar with.

I equate the time we have spent here so far as coming up for air from a multi-year deep-sea dive. My arms want to stretch as far as they can and grasp nothing and my feet want to run forever at full speed and get nowhere. This is art to me.

 

The above picture is taken from my commute shortly after leaving my house. After this was taken, my phone goes away and I am left on this road to think about my day, my week, and my life and by the time I plug in, I begin to write. It feels effortless as the thoughts are untethered by the grind that had their claws in me for so long.

 

Open space is why we vacation in the mountains or the beach. We need to recharge our batteries away from the pollutants in our everyday life. This is the very environment that artists have been recreating with communes and workshops since the beginning of commerce avalanches.

 

I am not trying to start a movement, otherwise you might all end up back in my space, but I am championing the notion of finding your own vast horizons. To quote Joe Versus the Volcano, “away from the things of man”, GO! You really won’t believe how many stars there are!