Creativity and Web Design (The Creativity Series: Guest Blog)

Eleanor Kleiner is a one of those people you are just glad comes into your life. We worked together for a short while and became friends. I got to know her as a very creative spirit in both her music and her art. She left for London, met her (now) husband, formed a new band…and is just someone YOU should know.

So…Musician, Web Designer, Artist…Creative Spirit…

The Creativity Series Guest Post:

Creativity and Web Design: Eleanor Kleiner

About a year ago I mentioned to Stu that I was learning web design.  What that really meant was haphazardly playing around on Photoshop at a VERY leisurely pace.  So, when Stu asked me to design him a website I hesitantly agreed to try, actually having no idea if this was something I could pull off.

Luckily, I did pull it off and it turned out to be a far more creative process than I had previously imagined (of course, building a site for a creative person who used phrases like “flight of fancy” and adjectives like “swirly” to describe want he wants, definitely helps).  I also found that having a real world project to complete made learning a lot faster.

Being a musician and creative person, before I began this undertaking I had found the idea of web design to be, at most, a palatable way to make money, but still pretty dull…and Photoshop was a completely daunting obstacle.  But as soon as I started speaking with Stu about what he envisioned for his website, ideas started flowing to me.  It was a really exciting experience, to be inspired about something which had previously been a complete unknown.

I started seeing people’s websites as extensions of themselves in the virtual landscape of the internet.  It’s like a whole new(ish) dimension in which people can present themselves in any way they wish, and my job is to listen and really get a feel for what they want, and then translate that into a site which reflects their vision and is also easy to navigate.

Finding ways to meld the client’s desires and the constraints of the medium into an aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly site is a creative challenge, and it allows me to be creative in a completely different way than songwriting does.  With songwriting, I’ve always taken a relatively passive approach, waiting for inspiration to hit and then following it until it runs out.

With web design, I’m finding that having specific projects with various deadlines is allowing me to take a more proactive approach, and I find that the inspiration comes eventually – it just takes some coaxing.  When writing a song, I tend to become emotionally invested in the result, which hugely hinders my creativity.  The idea that I’m helping someone else create a website, rather than creating something from scratch, takes my ego out of the equation and seems to make being creative a whole lot easier.

So far, the experience has made me aware that trying new creative endeavors is vital for me as an artist.  I think that the more creative avenues we explore, the more we grow.

It’s also served as proof for me that no matter how daunting something may seem, if you just jump in and put one foot in front of the other, you’ll get where you’ve wanted to go!

Over the past six years, classically trained vocalist Eleanor Kleiner and French bassist Elie Brangbour have traveled the world on an adventure that began when the two met at music school in London. With a shared passion for music and travel, they took their unique brand of folk/rock across continents, logging enough frequent flier miles to make any avid traveler jealous.

Full of imagery and stories of the human condition, The Whispering Tree‘s songwriting is the backbone of their sound and has been heavily influenced by their travels abroad, which have taken them from South America to China.

Following a seven month gig in Macau and the release of their self-titled EP, The Whispering Tree returned to New York City, where they released their full-length album, Go Call The Captain, in 2010. The Big Takeover calls their latest release “one of the year’s most luminous albums” and Deli Magazine named them “one of the most talented duos to take stage in NYC.”

Band Groupie: The Whispering Tree (w/music videos)

Music, like books, play a very important part in my life. I cannot imagine a day going by that I don’t listen to a CD, or my new fix of Pandora. When I drive, I usually  will have WFUV (90.7 in the NY area or you can listen online streaming here) playing…unless “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me” is on NPR.

The Whispering Tree is a group I’ve written about before (see Interview with Eleanor Kleiner). I worked with El as library clerks awhile ago now. I saw her in her first forays into forming a band. She went to England for a bit, met this guy (Ellie, now husband, and a really nice person), and they now are touring in an Airstream (you can read about their travails on their blog on their website The Whispering Tree) and have already had some great (and not so great) experiences. Where else but on the road can you meet someone who was “forced into cannibalism”? Yes, cannibalism; I’m not making that up.

Why this blog now? I’ve been talking about marketing lately, how to sell ourselves as artists without selling out. I know that blogging is a big deal with the MLM and SEO people, and it’s a numbers game to them. Me? I’d rather turn you onto a group I think you should get to know; one that I feel should “make it.”

Check out their blog. Look for them on their tour. I am a Whispering Tree groupie. Below you’ll find some of their videos, and I hope you’ll become one too. A fan, that is. Groupies are cool. We get to toss  our undies up on stage. 😉