I've been thinking a lot about creativity. I've been trying to break down how it works, the process of generating ideas, like if I had to explain it to someone else in a simple way. So here are a few things that I recognise as fairly consistent in my creative process.
I have to start with something; an image, a concept, a feeling, anything, but it has to be something. It's better too if that something is in front of me, like words written down in my sketchbook or an object to hold and turn in my hands. Maybe it's a flower, a postcard of a painting I love or some pieces of colored paper that I'm drawn to, that make me feel something.
Then there needs to be a problem, or something that needs to be solved. Like, how to communicate an idea or how to use that object or how to give it meaning.
Then, as my sister Emily described it, a mental motion begins. It's a process that moves, building speed as it goes. The process is, one idea tried with another, like two pieces from different puzzles are put next to each other to see if they might become something else. Sometimes it's something useful, sometimes beautiful, and most often, just not right so I try something else then something else again.
I believe that a really integral part of creativity is persistence and work. To generate unique ideas, my mind spins like a slot machine. I keep working at it until I get lucky.
When I do get lucky, my mind doesn't come to a complete halt, the motion is strong and ideas keep growing from that one idea. They expand and build and at that point it's important for me to record all of those ideas down before they are lost.
When I'm with some people and our mental motions combine, we become a real force and the possibilities are multiplied along with the excitement. (see photo above)
There are things that dampen my creativity. Usually it's lack of interest or connection to the subject. There are things I can't get excited about. I prefer something I enjoy, or believe in, or is entertaining at least.
I change many things, discard others, and try again and again until I am satisfied. Then, in my head, I begin to elaborate the work in it's breadth, it narrowness, its height, its depth...I hear and see the image in front of me from every angle, as if it had been cast, and only the labor of writing it down remains.
-Ludwig van Beethoven