I admit, I’m a bit of a mess. My mind is filled with ideas made of run-on sentences with no apparent correlation. I skip over words in a desperate attempt to communicate said ideas and when I try to write them down? Forget it. But one thing I am a stickler for is structure. I like having a boundary that my craziness can operate inside and bounce off of. For example, my room is a mess of books and strewn clothes, but it’s my mess; I know where everything is. It’s a way I can express myself as an artist, mom, geez. When it gets really bad, I usually attempt to organize the madness through the art of list-making. It’s a lot easier to jot down giant messes and big ideas with single words and phrases, numbered, highlighted, underlined — done.
This past summer, I experienced what I would call some sort of an identity crisis from having lived in the same environment for give or take 20 years. I realized I needed a change and the easiest way I thought to do this was by redecorating my room. Therefore, of course I made a list of things to change: the yellow decaying walls, the childish furniture, the Jack Sparrow posters on the wall. It was that easy. Yet I was left with a problem: all I had left was a blank canvas. How are you supposed to know what to do with a blank canvas if you’re already questioning your own identity? This wasn’t something a simple list was able to answer. What I needed what something of the inspirational sorts, so, I logged onto Pinterest.
For those of you who have been deprived of the greatness that is Pinterest, it is a social media website that is something like your own virtual vision board. You can use it to share ideas and things you love with other “Pinners,” from outfits to room designs, pictures of Ashley Benson to your favourite scenes from “Dawson’s Creek.” You attach these “pins” to different “boards” which are essentially virtual lists of a single theme or idea like “Winter Fashion” or “Places to Visit.” Then someone may find one of your pins and repin it to their own boards if it matches with their own set of ideas. For example, you could have a board named “Room Ideas” which may include pictures of different bedspreads and pillows that you wish you had or different layouts of other people’s rooms in ways that might inspire you to design yours.
This is exactly what I did. I started with room ideas and it was so easy to just type the words into the search engine and have a variety of photos pop up as examples. There were Bohemian inspired rooms with lights hanging from the ceiling and Aztec designed drapery hanging from the walls; romantic rooms with white bedspreads and pink walls, candles sitting on every surface. Rooms painted a variety of colours — some with all walls painted white except for a single shock of turquoise with the headboard of the bed leaning against it. It was inspiring, like your own personal trip to Ikea without having to leave your bed.
I liked the idea of painting one wall different than the others. I painted my room a light mint green, with a single wall painted a charcoal grey with chalkboard paint so I can make more of those lists I love. As a lover of books, tall black bookshelves now line the walls full to the brim with the spines of all my favourites. My favourite piece was the final element I added to my room: a pink velvet desk chair that doesn’t match a single piece of dark furniture in my room but seems to fit perfectly, a hint of rebellion amongst the classy style that fits me perfectly like the stacks of scribbled notes covering my desk or the endless amount of books sticking out from under the bed.
Pinterest has become a sort of ally of mine over the years for more than just interior design. It acts as an assistant for any of the uncontrollable ideas that try to make their way out of my head. I heed its advice for the choice of haircuts (creating endless boards of styles from blunt bobs to crazy platinum hair dyes), for fashion tips (what pair of jeans could actually match my long blue suede boots?) and even party planning (one of these days I swear I will have my Breakfast at Tiffany’s dinner party). Many a trip has been planned from the endless amount of beautiful photographs taken of different cities around the world, landmarks and secret spots never heard of before. (I didn’t know there were gothic fairytale castles in Scotland but I am going to every one of them.)
Pinterest helps build ideas in your mind you never would have thought of. It’s a lot cheaper than paying for an interior designer. Plus, you’re the person who gets to make the final decisions; you are in control. This is further proven by the influence of the “Do It Yourself” projects being well received and promoted by users on Pinterest. They share photos and comments of their experiences in the art of creating. It becomes most helpful during the holidays when have left your shopping to the last minute and don’t know what to get your loved ones. There are step by step tutorials on how to build hand made gifts instead like do it yourself bath bombs or meals. You can even find the Vegan equivalent of them depending on the taste of the person you’re giving it to. (I’m telling you there’s everything imaginable. You are put in the role of creator and designer to make things everyone can enjoy. Plus, the ‘giftee’ will probably be more thankful that you haven’t given them another framed photograph of the two of you this year.
The convenience of a design tool to be only a click away is not lost on any of its users. It’s so easy to be influenced and inspired by the ideas of others that the blank canvas you have of your life starts to become more exciting than scary. You can communicate with strangers and inspire them on a whole new level that’s interactive without having to travel across the world to meet with them. It’s so empowering to actually feel like you are having an effect on someone’s life, that a little bit of you that you have contributed might change someone’s whole self-image. Once you begin the process, it’s hard to stop.
The fact that it’s easily accessible and easy to maneuver is what attracts its users — people of all ages. My friends and I use it to send ideas to each other for birthday party ideas or even funny jokes about our favourite shows as soon as we come across them. My aunt uses the platform to do research for her trips, finding new places within to Paris to explore on her next visit, things that she never knew existed!
Social media can be construed as an online tool that has negative effects on the mind today. It questions the originality and creativity of its users, providing distractions with a “false sense of connection” and depriving its users by consuming their time. Yet, there are others that defend its existence from an artistic perspective, of which I concur.
As someone who is controlled by artistic instincts with the need to run to find pen and paper as soon as an idea hits me, I believe the importance of sharing and researching art projects (and the other elements I have discussed in this piece) on Pinterest is the same as sharing ideas in blogs and articles; you are doing it to share a message. It provides the same inspiration as when you create an online profile, redesign your room or put together a vision board of your favourite things. They are all made up of your interests and your passions; they are all things that are distinctly you and sharing that with the world is important. You don’t need to have any sort of crisis to figure that out. As I sit here in my favourite chair in a green coloured paradise surrounded by books, I am glad to say I know better who I am. Even so, the Pinterest link is still bookmarked in the right hand corner of my screen.