Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.
Where do creativity and inspiration come from? One of the concepts I try to impart to my students early on is to “notice what you notice” – in other words, pay attention to those things that sing to you, whether in the work of other artists or in the world at large.
With this in mind, inspiration can be found in where we live, who we surround ourselves with, places we travel to, just about anything outside of ourselves. Conversely, not much inspiration is going to be found staring at that blank canvas, page, screen or whatever that is for you. Our creativity comes from us as human beings who are connected with the world.
Earlier this week I took a group of students to Galiano Island, one of the gulf islands off Vancouver, BC. They were able to experience an amazing ferry trip, each other in a different context, a visit to our artist friends on the island, and nature at its springtime finest. Were they fired up? Here are some of the works they created in situation, on the rocky coast and sandy beach. There was certainly no lack of ideas or inspiration here and the students spent the afternoon happily creating, inspired by Earth Artist Andy Goldsworthy. If you aren’t familiar with his works – be sure to check them out as they might inspire you too!
Last year we took two groups of adults to the former monastery of Sant’ Anna in Camprena for a week long workshop in encaustics and photography. Similarly, participants had breakthroughs, whether from having the amazing landscapes and architecture rekindle and inspire intuition or from being among like minded peers and being able to freely circulate ideas. Even some non-participating attendees had epiphanies in their creative work due to the stimulating environment and exchanges.
So, my advice to you if you’re stuck (or even if you’re not) is: travel, eat, visit friends, meet new people, take workshops, live life in all its dimensions. That will provide you with the raw materials for your creative work – so long as you remember to “notice what you notice” 🙂