The use of imagination or original ideas to create something.
I believe that we are innately creative beings – we dream, imagine and sometimes live in the ‘what if’. Every day we construct language, sound, image and taste to communicate our inner most workings – an undeniably creative act. There are times when ideas come flooding, the gates are open and we are in the groove of creativity. And then come the times when it feels as though all is dried and gone, never to return. For me these darker times take the form of sitting in front of a blank photoshop screen, making weird noises with my head in my hands, then up to the fridge, back to photoshop, fridge, photoshop. It usually isn’t until I am able to consciously step away, reset and seek out some powerful inspiration that I can resume with intention and direction.
When I started at design school they told us to make the design section at the library our best friend. At first I was opposed to the idea, I didn’t want to be influenced by others work for fear of not having ‘pure creative thought’. But after a while, I visited this special section of the library, and realising the error of my ways continued to max my loan limit each week for the ensuing three years. What I had learnt was that being influenced and inspired doesn’t hinder your creativity but livens it and breaths life and possibility into your creative well.
I use this language very intentionally – ‘creative well’, as this is a concept I came to learn about years later in Julia Cameron’s amazing book ‘The Artists Way’. Cameron believes that ‘in order to create, we draw from our inner well’ and that ‘we must learn to be self-nourishing…to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them’. Just as the water drawn from a well must be replenished before the well can be used again, we must replenish our inner creative well with new experiences and sensory delights to keep our creativity thriving and pumping along.
Cameron suggests taking yourself on ‘artist dates’ – seeing an exhibition or movie, adventure to somewhere new, do something out of the ordinary. It is about shaking things up and going after experiences to fill up your well with new images, feelings and thoughts which you can draw on later in your creative process.
Here are few resources that I find particularly useful
Pintrest is undoubtedly my number one inspiration go to. It is an incredible tool and is basically a visual search engine of beautiful things. The best part is that it gets to know what you like, so each time that you visit you get an immediate, personally curated, inspiration hit.
For more activity based ‘well filling’, there are loads of free or low cost workshops, talks and exhibitions (especially on this site). I have been surprised how many times I have visited this site and seen workshops for things I have always been curious to try but never actually taken the time to do.
Now is the time. Fill that well, because as Cameron puts it ‘serious art is born from serious play’.