Finding New Creative Space: The Artist's Quest for their Niche

It is no secret that every artist is striving to be the best and the most creative. It comes more natural than others, and sometimes it comes when you least expect it, but creativity is the burning fire we desire. 

A few weeks ago I was stopped at a newspaper stand at our local market, noticing an abstract looking image, I felt compelled to examine it further. The result was a very interesting image of a dog fetching a ball underwater. It was a cover feature for the Toronto Star featuring photography by Seth Casteel (Pet Lifestyle Photographer), quickly putting his name into my phone, I had to immediately see more from his portfolio.

Not to any real surprise, he had a whole bunch of photos taken in a similar fashion;  Toronto Star didn’t have the only one. I was so interested, seeing what a great idea he had created, I couldn’t help but wonder how he does these photographs. All these questions went soaring through my web-based-design mind and very quickly, I am knocked straight on my ass—this Seth Casteel character kicks ass!

His plethora of photos continued to intrigue me and beckoned the question, “How did he get here?”, and like so many other genius projects, he just stumbled on the idea. The idea was so good, he had to make the decision to pursue the, albeit risky, idea. I am not writing this post to talk too much about Seth, though he certainly deserves a lot of credit, but his work ignited an idea that I think we artists all somewhat struggle with: Navigating our Creative Niche.

What a Unique Idea

I don’t think anyone has ever thought of something like this or produced the idea as masterfully as Seth has, allowing for instant captivation. What creates such a unique idea like this surely when underwater photography isn’t a new thing. There are lots of great underwater photographs out there, but how does one get curious enough to question the expression of a dog’s face the exact moment it reaches for a ball…underwater? The impact these photographs have had on me is sometimes not the most obvious but always remains true; the most unique creative ideas always win.

Carving Out Your Niche

Seth has taken his idea and made it into a full time job, working double as something that he loves; photography. He found a creative avenue that no one else was in, took advantage of this new found creative, and now a clear innovator in this new space. Not solely tailored to photography, you can look at any space such as web design or app design/development, and see holes where creative and innovative opportunities lay. New creative innovations that are simple at heart can lead a whole new generation of trends. Clear & Scorekeeper are two new apps that are incredibly simple at their core, but offer such a fantastic user experience that you forget about all the bells and whistles that most apps come with. They do one thing and they do it great.

How to Find your Creative Niche

The million dollar question that everyone strives to answer, “How do you find your own spot in the creative universe?”. I feel like it has everything to do with the mentality Apple works to evoke: If you have enough discipline and focus, your product will be better for it. It takes experience in your space to find out what is missing and then striving to fill that void and some of us are born with out-of-the-box thinking while others just can’t seem to get past what we see everyday.

While reading this article you may attempt to think of ideas, and a few of you will think of “great” ideas on how to expand this new found space Seth has created—like why don’t we throw a cat in the water and take a picture? Take it a step further: drench the cat in water, bounce it on a trampoline, and capture those moments; what do we find and where does that take us?

It might sound ridiculous, and it more than likely is, but that’s the type of thinking process you have to explore. Focus on getting far away from an idea, exploding it in as many directions as possible, then venture back down and to see if you can then branch out from that.

I hope that this post got you thinking “differently” and out of the box. Make sure to check out all of Seth Casteel’s work and please share your thoughts below. How far will the rabbit hole take you?

Tandem Stock Site
Seth Casteel Portfolio Site