“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” ~ Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs was probably referring to developing technology, but his definition applies to all forms of creativity. My art is a combination of items of visual interest from a vast mental catalog fused with something new – the inspiration that sparks my imagination! So far the sources have been the research, both past and present, of excellent art and graphic design. The final and most important element in cultivating creativity involves communication.
My 3 main sources of inspiration are:
1. ART HISTORY
2. VINTAGE ADVERTISEMENTS
As a contractor it is crucial to connect with the ideas and vision of my clients. Especially when we are collaborating for the first time. Where art history and vintage advertisements are reference materials, having a productive conversation with a client is a skill. All three sources have been a part of my life since childhood.
From the meandering conversations with my very talkative Dad on a wide range of topics to being raised in the Jewish community (where literature and discussion are central to its culture) to attending an elementary school for the arts to a career in the production arts – I have always felt free to think, create and ask questions. Brainstorming with other talented folks on artistic projects in college and professionally for theater, film or trade shows have taught me the value of collaboration. Sometimes sharing an upcoming job with a friend gets things started!
The ability to interpret the ideas of my customers through the art of conversation has resulted in fantastic final products. For example, when I was in the process of painting the Polynesian Paradise to surround Tony’s indoor swimming pool, he was wandering around and making suggestions. At first I wasn’t giving him my full attention, but then realized that he wanted to make a more direct contribution to the design.
The Tiki statues decorating louvered kitchen doors- this detail was sparked by Tony's remark about the belly button door knobs.
I made the sketches from tons of books with his favorite images marked, but stopped painting to find a space without a plan. We ended up in the kitchen, I pointed to the louvered doors, he touched the knobs and murmured, “They look like belly buttons.” Immediately I sketched on the doors with charcoal- he was so excited and claimed the twin Tiki statues were exactly what he was thinking. The doors became a favored focal point of the kitchen.
For Heaven on Earth Dog Daycare & Spa, owner Jay was a most interesting client; he was very clear and detailed about his vision. When discussing the elements to be included in the mural, he described his ideal customer, his favorite breed of dogs, the advertising plan, and employees he was considering for his new business. Incorporating his ideas into the design was a challenging, but he was pleased with the drawing and the finished piece is one of my best. Without the conversation with Jay, many of the details wouldn’t have existed.
The start of the "Heaven on Earth" mural during record heat in New Orleans. Photo by Eliot Kamenitz of the Times-Picayune.
There are as many moments and types of inspiration as there are styles of creating art; but these three work best for me when meeting a deadline. A Latin proverb states, “The imagination exercises a powerful influence over every act of sense, thought, reason – over every idea.” It is a joy to strengthen my imagination by reviewing the creative expressions of the past and interpreting the visual perceptions of individuals seeking a work of art.
Completed mural containing unique details requested by the client.