The Creative Mind is an Empty Box
June 23, 2016 | by David Moncur
“I’d like to change the way people view creativity”
Many people believe that creativity springs eternal from within the creative mind. But that’s untrue. The creative mind is really just an empty box filled with an elaborate menagerie of mirrors and reflecting surfaces.
The box is only as good – or as “creative” – as what is reflected into it.
The very best work comes when a creative finds inspiration in things around them, or in research. Those thoughts and ideas are reflected into the box of mirrors, and voila! Magic (or creativity) comes out.
Really amazing creatives are inspired by the things they see all around themselves. They are sponges for new information and new visual solutions that others have created before them. Inspiration (i.e. other people’s work or observations in nature) is all around us. And it is the fuel for the creative mind. Without it, the system does not work.
The first move that most people make when they’re trying to be creative is to reach deep inside of their own minds to come up with an idea. But too often there is nothing inside to inspire the thought they’re looking for, so the end product is only as good as the sum of the experiences they have had to apply to that creative challenge. The very best creative minds are constantly looking around and experiencing creative ideas everywhere, and so their box of mirrors is overflowing with inspiration. It gives the illusion to the younger creative that the person is just inherently creatively brilliant. But what they don’t see is the inspiration that the person is filling their box of mirrors with all the time, so that creativity is possible on a moment’s notice.
“Creativity and design and ideas and inspiration are everywhere”
The harder way to do it is to begin researching when a creative idea is required. While this process still works, it is much harder to find inspiration when you’re looking than when you’re just moving through life.
I’d like to change the way people view creativity, and inspire them to engage, look out, see and experience everything around them all the time. The billboard on the side of the road. The magnificent spiderweb in the morning on the side of the garage. The old piece of machinery sitting in the junk pile, the signage of the trendy new restaurant. The ads in the magazines and the emails that come in every day. Or maybe just the color you can see in a budding green leaf, or a sky filled with a fading sunset.
Creativity and design and ideas and inspiration are everywhere. The windows to the box are our eyes and ears. Use them to reflect the experiences of life in, and be amazed at what comes out.