Looking for a Creative Boost?

Clouds. Day 256 of 2017.

Many people attribute the quote “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” to Albert Einstein. Based on my research, there’s no substantiation for this actually being said by him or in his writings. But it is true none the less, whoever said it. As an artist, it is easy to be overwhelmed by feeling we have either too much creativity or too little creativity. It can feel like a pendulum swing between too many ideas and creative block.

How can we get a creative boost when we need one?

Creative boosts can come from something as simple as getting outside of yourself and appreciating someone else’s creativity. 

I personally recently went through a big creative burst and then found myself feeling flat creatively. So I was looking forward to a break this past weekend. Little did I realize that I would get the creative boost I was looking for. We took our son to auditions for classical and jazz guitar at a midwestern music conservatory. Seeing people think musically and interact with each other in a musical conversation who had just met each other at that jazz jam audition was so uplifting. Seeing other people’s creativity is really contagious. It makes you more positive about the possibilities of creativity and you can use this to get a playful attitude about your own creativity.

Sara Kenward's Honeycomb and Chloroplast series

In addition, this week I went to a ceramics raku firing and a ceramics art show. My friend’s daughter, Sara Kenward is a ceramicist at STAMPS art school. I went to see her art show and was so inspired by her organic shapes and unique way of carving out the clay to add texture to the outside of the piece. It was an approach to ceramics I have never seen before.

My point is seeing other people create at a high-level is contagious and you can bring that positive energy into your own life and your own creative practice.

It is like being around happy people which eventually rubs off on you and you start smiling as well. I think the same thing is true for creativity. Surrounding yourself with people who are living creatively and sharing their work is an uplifting place to hang out.

Photo collage of raku ceramics firing by Carl Mankert of Chicago Kiln Service at our local high school. They use clay and glazes particular for raku which allows for the crackly or metallic appearance.

This is not about the comparison game but rather an easy way just to appreciate the act of creativity. It helps relax us and as the dean of the music conservatory said last weekend, everyone performs their best when they are relaxed. He brings his dog to the auditions for everyone to pet the dog and relax. He also said they aren’t looking for perfection but they’re looking to see how the students think creatively. That could be a whole other topic for an article.

That was just the kind of break I needed to get back in the studio feeling refreshed. Creative boosts can come from something as simple as getting outside of yourself and appreciating someone else’s creativity.