Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lessons From a Creative Genius

    Image Source: the-colossus

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear a real creative genius speak. Ann Hamilton has been one of my art heroes, since I attended graduate school and studied public art in the same city Ann had moved back to only years before.

Her large scale installations, with an amazing attention to detail, have fascinated me, so when I saw she would be speaking at the Cleveland Museum of Art, I cleared my schedule and made an intention to be there.

The trip and the experience were definitely worth the wait. Ann delighted the audience with a historical trajectory of her work and infused it with inspiring tidbits that I was able to capture in my small notebook. Here are a few of them, along with my interpretations:

"Work is created through acts of (our) attention."
This pretty much sums up not only her work, but any work that we do as creators. It is truly the focus that we put into art that makes it come to life.
"Making (work) is falling open to possibilities."
Another accurate assessment of the creative process. If it were not for the possibilities we would not be able to create anything. A nice reminder for all creatives.

"(You) need to be uncomfortable to make work."
How many times have you waited for the right time to create or the perfect idea to fall from the sky? Probably always. And how often has it happened? Probably never. Work is hard and you need to be uncomfortable to find the friction to create.

"Follow your questions and trust the things you don't know."
None of us has all the answers and that is why questions are so important to the creative process. Start with your questions and see where they lead. You may be surprised by the result.

  • What lessons have you learned from a creative genius?


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a really interesting presentation, and great tidbits - I especially like the last one about "following your questions". Good stuff :)

marianne said...

What an inspiring post! I think creative heroes are a must for everyone and how powerful it must have been to be in the presence of yours. I love the tidbits you took away and how this creative genius has inspired you to inspire others!

I have learned from one of my creative genius's this week that PLAY is just as important as work.

Mark Pinto said...

I agree that to make work you have to be uncomfortable. My best work is done with stolen time...usually the time I SHOULD be doing something else or when time is running out. It's that old adrenaline junkie thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you gave yourself such a great artist's date.

I was struck by this: "Work is created through acts of (our) attention." I like your summary, but it also made me think of an essayist I read recently who said a writer (and this would apply to a painter or photographer or any creative) is always observing, seeing things others overlook, and then expressing them in a way that makes the unobservant realize what they've missed.


D.M. SOLIS said...

Outstanding quotes. You already know. I especially like the last one. Are you in D.C.? If the Mierre (sp?) show is still at National Building Museum, I highly recommend. Her work and her life are most inspirational...and the building itself, the space and structure are fascinating. Enjoy!


MELANIE said...

No, Diane I won't be there till next month. Interesting about the Building Museum. I used to work there, so I'll have to check it out. Thx, M

Betsey Merkel said...

This is a great post and thank you for sharing the knowledge nuggets from your experience. I've shared your post and its highlights on my Facebook page. Thxs again!