“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Einstein.
One thing that seems to be a trait of most artists and creators is that of curiosity. It is what drives us. Of course, it comes in many different forms, from the, “I wonder what is around the next corner” type of question to the, “what would happen if I added this to that,” kind of thinking.
"Curiosity ..... evokes the care one takes for what exists and could exist: a readiness to find strange and singular what surrounds us”. Michael Foucault.
When my son was young, he had an insatiable curiosity. He was constantly pulling things apart to see how they worked. This included a silver bracelet I had made, studded with semi-precious stones. He prised all the stones out and totally wrecked the settings. I can’t say I kept very calm about that. I totally lost my focus on allowing his creative exploration with that one - as you might imagine!
In a creative context, curiosity comes into its own in the service of noticing and discovering the complexities of ordinary things we might otherwise overlook. The artist looks longer and deeper at the world around him or her, bringing into the light the unseen details others overlook.
As an artist, my curiosity is always on high alert as I focus through my camera lens, narrowing down and limiting what I choose to see and pay attention to. In this way I reframe my subjects to tell a new story. This requires the ability to really look at what is in front of me and keep questioning it. I can view it through so many different lenses - light, shadow, reflection, colour, line and texture to name a few.
The problem then becomes one of paring back. What is essential? What can I leave out? What do I want to focus on?
Some ideas to encourage your creative curiosity -
• Drive a different way to somewhere you are going. What do you notice?
• Walk down a different street you’ve never been down before.
• Eat and or drink something you’ve never tried before.
These things all contribute to filling up our creative bank account. You never know when they will find their way into your work.
NEXT WEEK: Do You Need A Paradigm Shift in Your Art Biz?