Get a look inside the minds of some of the most amazing creative people, including Chuck Close, Paul Simon, Tim Burton and Frank Gehry. The Atlantic's profile of 14 geniuses may help us all find our creative muses.
This How Genius Works special report showcases all sorts of creative talent:
- painter Chuck Close
- writer T.C. Boyle
- director Jennifer Yuh Nelson
- musician Paul Simon
- playwright and set designer team Sarah Ruhl and Scott Bradley
- director Tim Burton
- auto designer J Mays
- architect Frank Gehry
- graphic designer Michael Bierut
- chef Grant Achatz
- fashion designers Laura and Kate Mulleavy
- musician Lupe Fiasco
- graphic novelist Ben Katchor
- architects Bonnie Fisher and Boris Dramov
It reads like a who's who of creativity, and the artists' conversations and musings about the creative process are very insightful, showing us how they think through their projects. Here are just a few examples.
Chuck Close says that problem creation may be more important for artists than problem solving in the traditional sense. He creates his portraits using grids drawn on pieces of Mylar and layers paint strokes on for contrast. Close rotates the painting to refine it and analyse the shapes, saying:
The system seems totally mechanical and so systematized, but in fact the thing about limitations like these is that they free you to be more spontaneous and intuitive.
Paul Simon says that patience and sticking with a good idea works for him. He starts with a rhythm that sets up the context for his songs and then layers in melody and lyrics via trial and error.
Tim Burton sets aside daily quiet time when ideas often come to him:
I don't sit down and try to draw a character. I attempt to reserve some time each day for myself to sit and do nothing-stare off into space or doodle or whatever—just be in my own head. That time is very precious for me, and sometimes the characters will strike me in these quiet moments.
Architect Frank Gehry says you have to rise above all the potential excuses for constraining your creativity (e.g., budget or client demands):
In the end, you have to rise above them. You have to say you solved all that. You're bringing an informed aesthetic point of view to a visual problem. You have freedom, so you have to make choices-and at the point when I make a choice, the building starts to look like a Frank Gehry building. It's a signature.
Get your creative juices flowing and read more about these geniuses' creative processes in the link below. It's also a great time to discuss in the comments how we generate ideas (whether in art or other projects).
How Genius Works [The Atlantic]