ORIGINAL ART + MINDFULNESS

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Stuff you never knew about the creative process: Research!

These days I'm spending a fair amount of time trying to make Tambi a real product.

This means two things:

  • I'm meeting a whole bunch of people I wouldn't have normally met (software developers, investors).
  • I'm talking a lot to them about creatives' processes.

And the conclusion is: creatives like myself are doing a terrible, terrible job at explaining how we work.

The creative process is completely mystified.

Most people still envision a man having a sort of fit whilst holding brushes (or paint buckets).

I'm really sorry, but it's just not like that. Even for people who like splashing canvases.

One of the most puzzling steps to outsiders is research. All creatives research (I'll go deeper into that).

There is this bizarre idea that art is something that emanates from the gut, or from drugs,  or from a divine source. And as romantic as that might sound, those sound more like issues one needs medical help with that creative expertise.

So allow me to pick up what I had stated: all creatives research.

If you are feeling upset by the statement above, maybe it's because researchers also have these imagery of people in libraries scrolling through scholastic texts. And mind you, some researchers do that. But research can be so many things.

I understand research as the input of information.

One gathers new information by:

  • Learning about other artists' work.
  • Experimenting with materials.
  • Going to shows.
  • Perusing blogs.
  • Spending time on Pinterest.
  • Reading about all sorts of subjects.
  • Talking to others.
  • Playing.
  • [Insert pretty much anything here]

In other words: creativity cannot exist in a vacuum.

Creatives are important because they reflect on the time they live in. And to do that, they need to absorb their environment.

That's why Louise Bourgeois worked with textiles (her family's business was fixing tapestries).

That's why Picasso created those expressive, sharp faces (African Art was becoming popular in his circles).

(Forgive the very typical examples).

Louise Bourgeois Untitled 2002 Tapestry, aluminium 43.2 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm The Easton Foundation, New York, NY. Click on image for original source.

Louise Bourgeois
Untitled
2002
Tapestry, aluminium
43.2 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm
The Easton Foundation, New York, NY.

Click on image for original source.

LEFT: Pablo Picasso, 'Head of a Woman', 1907 (oil on canvas) RIGHT: Dan Mask from West Africa Click on image for original source.

LEFT: Pablo Picasso, 'Head of a Woman', 1907 (oil on canvas)
RIGHT: Dan Mask from West Africa

Click on image for original source.

Every artist/musician/designer/dancer is a great researcher. Or a great sponge.

A great creative is that who can take something existing and infusing it with a new meaning, somehow.

And that's actually very, very hard to do.

So, if you are a creative, how do you research?

If you are not, how does this change the your perception of the creative process?

Thanks for reading, I'm looking forward to your comments!