Simplicity is so much more direct, clear and graspable. Perhaps that’s why it is such a successful approach to design. When I think of Shaker furniture and Agnes Martin and I see the beauty of simplicity. I know how difficult it can be to achieve, which is all the more reason to strive for it.
Less. Remember less, not more.
It was a rude awakening when a professor of mine said to me, “Ideas are a dime a dozen.” And they were right. People come up with ideas all day long and many of them are good ideas. However, anyone can have an idea. It’s the person who actually does something with the idea, who actually makes something, who is actually creative. One of my favorite commentaries on this is Jane Austen’s character in Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine De Bourgh, when she talks of music.
“There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”
In my mind I am a great proficient of many things as well, though not nearly as proficient in reality.
And intimately related to this is our previous creative truth, “execution is essential.” Nothing kills a good idea more quickly than poor execution. I learned, often the hard way, that the idea or concept I have is often frustratingly elusive when I try to actually create it. In my mind, it all seemed so full and deep and complete. In reality, there are many, many aspects that need a lot of consideration before my idea lives up to its potential.
Have ideas; have as many of them as possible. However, remember this truth—humbling though it may be—that you can’t stop at the idea. You have to execute it brilliantly to see the ideas true potential.
Good work always prevails. There are many things that make a creative person successful but the one truth that is irrevocable is that we are judged by our work. We make things. Our creative output, art, music, dance, poetry, is the result of our lifetime of experiences, our craft and skills, influences of the culture and the marketplace and our own motivations. Our efforts, as such, culminate in the external pieces we create. Without that tangible creative output we are left with the conceptual meanderings of our mind.
Creative output is not something that we do as an aside. It is the core of the creative process and it often comes from the very center of our being. The creative process often leaves us vulnerable. It opens us up to criticism and judgement by those whose opinion we value and those whose opinions are meaningless. In either case, what a creative person needs to focus on is creating work. Only after we’ve made something do we actually have an opportunity to evaluate and critique our own work. Create/evaluate; creative/evaluate; on and on it goes. I often ascribe to the “quantity theory” of creation to counteract my own fears about criticism and judgement. By making, I move forward. I focus on the making and evaluate afterwards. After all, it’s the work that counts.
You can get in touch with me here!
Minneapolis, MN 55419