Truly I believe anyone can be creative. There’s just no doubt in my mind. You just gotta decide that you want to be creative and just practice it. My name is Mary Jo Hoffman. I’m an aerospace engineer turned artist in Shoreview, Minnesota. I take a daily nature walk with my my puggle, Jack and find something interesting to photograph for my blog, Still. I decided I wanted to do a something-a-day project. I made my first post January 1, 2012. I have a portfolio of about 3,000 high-quality images now that are out on the world. I’m getting weekly requests for usage rights for those images. Where I live, we’re in the woods, we’re on a lake, I have a neurotic puggle that I have to walk every day. I conceived the project to be simple because I knew if I complicated it, I wouldn’t do it every day. I still have an average camera and a simple, $300 tripod. I don’t use artificial light, I use window light. – You don’t need to do something 10 hours a day, every day of your life in order to be good at it, or in order to even appreciate it. It’s almost better if you do it in increments and sort of enjoy it every day, but not overdo it. – I started a daily nature blog in Minnesota in January first, which, that’s ridiculous. Who would do that? I’m looking outside and
there’s two feet of snow. What am I going to photograph? It ended up that there
was plenty to photograph. – Just doing something daily is sort of almost like a family thing. My dad just writes, she does her artwork for a couple hours a day. – The magic of it is that it was not only not effortful, but it very quickly became fulfilling, for the whole family. The whole family got into it. (dog tags jingle) We’re all more attentive. Everybody’s paying attention to what’s going on outside. It’s really good. – She was an engineer while I was a kid, and then an artist when I grew up. – I ended up getting a graduate degree in aeronautics and astronautics. I did it because I was good at it, not because I was passionate about it. Those are two different things. And you’re the lucky person when they line up. When what you’re extremely passionate about happens to also be what you’re really, really good at. I was a tomboy as a kid. I spent a lot of time outdoors. In some ways, this is a coming back to myself a little bit. – Every reference people have to popular culture, I have in nature. So I can name all these different birds, I can name all these different trees, and people are like, Eva, how do you know that? And I’m like, that’s what happens when you grow up with a mom who’s constantly collecting things and constantly doing all this stuff in nature. – This is a whole collection of Canada goose feathers. Jean-Luc gave it to us in France. This is wild carnation. – Really? – Yeah. I’m so in love with these, I can’t even tell you. I mean, look at that. Let’s see what this looks like. After a while, you start to realize the perfect example of something is far less interesting than the imperfect example of something. Often, it’s decay, something that’s past its prime and is starting to turn. These something-a-day projects, like in my case, it’s a photo a day, but it could be a drawing a day, or a pattern a day, or a collage a day. Doing a little something every day adds up to something really big, really fast. It’s been remarkable.