David Brooks is the inspiration for this week’s creativity exploration. Albert Durer (1471 – 1528) had never seen a Rhinoceros and drew this sketch in 1515 based on a written description by someone who had seen the animal in person. David Brooks then used this idea to create scupltures of critically endangered animals which we may never see, particularly if they are to become extinct.
In this exercise Brooks challenges us to apply this thinking to something we know exists but have never seen, and, probably never will.
I know this exists but have never seen…
Finding something to base my creation on was surprisingly challenging. I wanted to take Brooks literally and create based on something I have never seen, not just in person, but also in images or pictures in books, posters, TV or the web.
This may have been a mistake. It ruled out a lot of the natural world-related things I could think of.
There are many science-related things I haven’t seen either (like a black hole) or skin cells through a microscope. However, these didn’t seem to be hitting quite the right note.
This sent me off in a more abstract direction. Feelings. Ideas. Things I see the aspects of in myself or others but find it difficult to describe or portray. A response, I’m sure, actors will be very aware of.
Does curiosity kill the cat?
Helping my children with their school work, I find it frustrating that they are not interested by questions that come up. Not enough to explore them anyway. The subject doesn’t really matter – the industrial revolution to electronics to chemistry to music. With so many resources at our fingertips I’m fascinated by it all and want to know more.
Maybe its because they are teenagers and doing schoolwork (I’m sure this has a lot to do with it). I’m also now wondering if this is because I grew up in an age where we had few resources to use – the school and public libraries and my parents ancient Children’s Britannica. No internet.
Which brings me back, in a roundabout way, to the abstract concept I want to portray – curiosity. I know it exists but what exactly is it? My creation is a montage of pictures and words to hopefully explain it a little:
For me, curiosity is being open and observant, asking questions and being interested in the answers. Not being afraid to make mistakes or say ‘I don’t know…’. Being interested in people and their stories. Wanting to know more.
I’ve used images of looking and listening, wide open mountainscapes, opening up pathways, questions for people and things, the joy of exploring through experience (the puddle bit) and a lot of books.
I have used pictures and text but the creation could be a drawing, a sound composition, a video, written account or sculpture – the creator chooses.
A client may be having difficulty expressing themselves or exploring an emotion. Encourage them to create something about it first and then use this as the means to talk about it.
To explore more of your own creativity – for yourself and with clients – check out our online Creativity Summer School taking place in August.