I was recently asked “how do you nurture your creative soul while advancing your career?” It’s a great question. I believe there are four keys. Today, I’ll take a look at the first: curating experiences to inspire your creative self.
At my company, when we launch a video project we often start with inspiration boards—something to inspire us; a visual framework within which we can build the story. In the same way, it’s important to create your own “inspo board” for life. For me, that means going to a lot of museums and installations. Earlier this year I experienced Man Ray: The Paris Years at the Art Museum of Richmond–a fantastic look inside the creative process of this great photographer, as well as the creative milieu in which he soaked daily while living in Paris. And one of the things that surprised me the most was how much of Man Ray’s archetypal photos were created for commercial projects—commissions for magazines, book covers and the like. One of his most iconic and insightful images is of Ernest Hemingway with a bandage wrapped around his head. At the time, Hemingway had been struggling to write. At a party, he drunkenly mistook the chain of a previously broken skylight for the toilet chain. The glass came crashing down on him, he was rushed to the hospital, and reportedly spent hours on the operating table. That night, Hemingway almost died. Man Ray snapped the photo a few days later, capturing Hemingway’s vulnerability, courage, and a slightly rakish look with his hat off kilter as he looks into the middle distance. After the accident, Hemingway’s creativity was unblocked and he wrote A Farewell to Arms, probably one of his greatest works. Some of my many takeaways from this curated experience: a crisis can move us to action. The pivot point in a story can be unexpected. And getting paid to work doesn’t mean the work isn’t worthy–it’s a gift that allows us to keep creating.
Some of my other favorite inspirational experiences are outdoor installations, sculptures and murals. Living in Washington, DC, I’ve got plenty to choose from locally, including the haunting Korean war memorial, Some of my other favorite inspirational experiences are outdoor installations, sculptures and murals. Living in Washington, DC, I’ve got plenty to choose from including the haunting Korean war memorial, including life-sized statues by Frank Gaylord[ making you feel as if you are right there with them in the cold and relenting rain.
And the joyful murals surrounding Ben’s Chili bowl done by artist Aniekan Udofia.
I was also lucky enough to catch the multi-floor Adam Pendleton exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York when I was there last month for a project.
Now that Covid restrictions are lifting, I’ve got lots more places on my list to inspire my creative work this year. I can’t wait!
What art or installations have inspired you?