“An artist must actively caress wonder: for fascination, like the desire to play, can be eradicated by the rigors of living.” Eric Maisel
“There is a myth, common in American culture, that work and play are entirely separate activities.”
That is a quote by Laura Seargeant Richardson, a principal designer at frog design, who “specializes in the emotional, social, participatory and future design of products and environments.”
She writes: “There is a myth, common in American culture, that work and play are entirely separate activities. I believe they are more entwined than ever before.
“As the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget once said, “Play is the answer to how anything new comes about.” A playful mind thrives on ambiguity, complexity, and improvisation—the very things needed to innovate and come up with creative solutions to the massive global challenges in economics, the environment, education, and more.”
“I may think in pictures, but first I write everything out in words.” Brian Selznick
Brian Selznick’s 2007 novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” is the basis for the new Martin Scorsese movie “Hugo” – the story of an orphan, living in a Paris train station at the dawn of the 1930s.
An article quotes the author:
“When I first presented ‘Hugo’ to [publisher] Scholastic, it was going to have one drawing per chapter and be about 100 pages. But the more I thought about the book, the more I thought it might be interesting to try to tell the story like a movie.” ///
Linda Kreger Silverman, Ph.D. of the Gifted Development Center explains, “Visual-spatial learners are individuals who think in pictures rather than in words. They have a different brain organization than auditory-sequential learners.”
Continued: Developing Creativity: Visual Thinking.
“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”
That is a brief description of the state of flow, also called “being in the zone,” as described by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced me-high chick-sent-me-high), who says we can facilitate the conditions for this quality of optimal functioning, and that it may be found in a wide range of careers and activities.
His interest in this topic resulted from his doctoral thesis on “how visual artists create art” for which he studied photos taken every three minutes as artists created a painting.
He says he was “struck by how deeply they were involved in work, forgetting everything else. That state seemed so intriguing that I started also looking for it in chess players, in rock climbers, in dancers and in musicians.” [Photo: Paula Zahn playing cello.]
Continued: Developing Creativity In The Zone
Many artists express ideas about developing creativity and innovation that can be helpful to other creative people. Here are a few examples.
Julia Cameron is a teacher, author, poet, playwright, novelist, filmmaker, composer, and journalist. She is perhaps most famous for her book The Artist’s Way, and has written many other non-fiction works, short stories, and essays as well as novels, plays, musicals, and screenplays.
From The Creative Life: An Interview with Julia Cameron by Annette Fix, Women on Writing / WOW:
WOW: “Write what seems to want to be written” is a piece of advice you gave one of your students. Should that always be the practice or should some consideration be made for writing what is marketable?
JULIA: “Write what wants to be written” is sound advice, guaranteeing we will have passion and enthusiasm for our subject matter. When we write with such fire, our work is persuasive and often marketable.
Just find your passion and get to work on creating your art or creative business venture, right?
It isn’t always so easy or straightforward.
Once they reach a certain level of achievement and acclaim, artists such as Michelangelo – or David Lynch or Lady Gaga – may be more free to be passionate and contrary or eccentric.
But as Andrea Kuszewski notes in the following post, there are often conflicting attitudes and suppressive attitudes toward creative children and adults.
There is no GPS for the creative life; the pathways we may follow are too winding and the influences and inspirations come from so many places and times.
Divergent thinking can even come into play when promoting creative projects.
The photo is writer Sherrilyn Kenyon, who has some interesting comments below about influences on her work.
What made me aware of her was a recent newspaper article about how book publishers (including hers) are using professionally produced 30-second commercial spots or book trailers to promote titles. (On Location: book publishers borrowing a page from Hollywood by Richard Verrier, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 8, 2011.)
Maybe you could create your own videos as creative projects on their own, or to promote your music, play, visual art or book.
“I have always spent most of my time staring out the window, noting what is there, daydreaming, or brooding.” Joyce Carol Oates
How do you use your time to encourage creative imagination and expression?
In her post If you don’t value your imaginative life, no one else will, author and writing teacher Lisa Rivero notes that some of how she uses her 24 hours each day “might look to the outside world like frivolous fun, downtime, anything but work: reading the writing of others, making notes for future projects, networking with other writers, staring out the window, taking a walk while listening to the latest New Yorker fiction podcast (something I highly recommend), even writing blog posts.”
She explains this is all “part of what Joyce Carol Oates calls the imaginative life” (from The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art):
Molière: “No matter what Aristotle and the Philosophers say, nothing is equal to tobacco; it’s the passion of the well-bred, and he who lives without tobacco lives a life not worth living.”
“While I was doing Eraserhead I had 40 coffees every day and I smoked 40 cigarettes.” – David Lynch
Filmmaker, musician and visual artist David Lynch has also said, “Cigarettes are pretty much my worst vice, and I even stopped smoking for 20 years. I spend most of my free time with my family and working on art.”
But he is apparently still a chain smoker – a nicotine addict – like many other artists have been.
“It is no coincidence that one of the most prominent pro-smokers in Britain is David Hockney; and he is just one of many artists who can’t do without nicotine…consider a group photograph called The Irascibles, portraying the New York school of painters at the moment of their breakthrough in 1950.
“While Jackson Pollock manages to conceal any booze he may have about his person, Mark Rothko nervously holds a cigarette. In fact, almost every photo of Rothko shows this unhappy man smoking, without a trace of pleasure.”