How to Stay Creative Post-Graduation

In school, you’re surrounded by a community of creatives and doers. But post-school life brings change — suddenly, you’re unbounded. And you have to be tenacious enough to motivate yourself through the lack of structure that a life without classes brings. You zoom out from the routine of school and realize the need to create isn’t just project to project, semester to semester. This is your entire life. And it’s yours to choose a path for; your world to effect change upon.

After you graduate, you have to be more vigilant about staying creatively stimulated . How do you stay creative in a world where being a dreamer,  an innovator, an activist, or an artist is not the norm?

Recent graduate, and Raw Art Works alumni Michael Aghahowa shares his advice:

It takes one big project to pull you out of a funk. After I graduated, I got a studio space and realized I wasn’t around creatives anymore. I struggled to make work. I had a bunch of projects that I started and never finished. It’s so easy to tell yourself, “Maybe this isn’t for me long-term. I’m not a ‘real’ artist.”. After 6 months out of school, I am just getting out of that post-grad slump.

People who don’t understand the creative process think because we have a skill, it just takes sitting down and starting. “Just start, the ideas will come”, they say. That’s not how that works.

You have to find the process that works for you.


It’s important to embrace the chaos of post-college freedom. Channel it into your work.

No one can make the art I want to make better than me, but I can’t do that if I don’t let myself breathe first.

A huge point of growth for me was learning to ask for help. After school, collaboration isn’t a part of daily life anymore. You have to seek it out.

I have a few friends that are artists as well, and they stop by my studio and give me feedback. That’s invaluable to me. Sometimes, I have an idea, and I just want to see where it goes. I have to be open to suggestions and opinions because those are what help a piece come alive.

People will always see opportunities in your work that you can’t. Collaboration brings a clarity that we can’t always find on our own.

If I’m trying to convey a certain message, and people aren’t getting it, it’s probably because I’m the only one who has looked at it. If I ask for help, and other people see what I see, then my message is coming through.

When I first graduated, I was so worried that the “real world” would keep me from making the art I did in college. But what I eventually realized, was that there is no such thing as the “real world”. I get to decide what life I will live. No one else. And this life — one of creating everyday — is my choice.

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