!nsp!re – Creative Traits

I’m not certain that I’ve ever subscribed to the belief that “creative” people are inherently different. For the most part, I agree with Sir Ken Robinson – creativity is nurtured.

That said, this is an interesting read, about 5 creative traits that most people won’t understand. I think one of the more salient observations is that “creative people see the world differently”. Whether that’s by nature or nurture is debatable, but I do believe it’s true. When one considers the paintings of Jasper Johns, the writings of Roald Dahl, or the songs of Nina Simone; what they share is a specific and unique perspective on the world. I would posit that HOW we see is the key differentiator between those who are creative and those who do not consider themselves to be creative.

One of the questions I get in workshops is, “As a creative, where do your ideas come from?”. To me, it’s not a mysterious process: It simply begins with seeing, but seeing in a way that filters the field of view through my experience, sensibility, and aesthetic. The design work that then emerges from that process is my own; even though it’s informed by what I’ve absorbed through art, architecture, music, and design. But it’s also more mundane than that. Inspiration is, quite literally, everywhere; from the way the light streams through the breakfast room window on a December morning, to the way the tomatoes are displayed at the grocery store; from the striking layout of a beautifully designed website to the repeating motif of a pattern in a hotel lobby.

EVERYTHING is input. Is all of the input valid? Maybe not for the project immediately in front of me; but ultimately, yes, much of it will be. The moment a creative loses their ability to truly see (and feel, experience, hear, and absorb) might as well be the equivalent of an artistic death; because that’s where it all begins. The challenge is to continually maintain that openness; that ability to look at the world with “new eyes”.

That’s the challenge I’m setting for myself – to do ONE thing differently each day to keep my vision fresh. Turn left instead of right. Take a walk during lunch. Watch my favorite movie on DVD in a different language. You do the same; and watch how your world can change.