Students will reflect on the nature of inspiration. They will consider how they are inspired, read about how other artists are inspired, and make an “inspiration” book, sketch, or file.
National Core Standards
One class period
INSPIRATION AND CREATIVITY QUOTES
Ideas are ghosts
“I used to think that being inspired was about sitting around and waiting for ideas to come to you. But generally, it’s not like that at all. I liken the process to seeing ghosts: the ideas are always there, half-formed. It’s about being in the right state of mind to take them and turn them into something that works” (Fyfe Dangerfield). “The subconscious part of myself creates far more interesting things than the conscious part can ever dream of” (Akram Khan).
Make it personal
“Make sure you are asking a question that is addressed both to the world around you and the world within you” (Rupert Goold). “Be brief, concise and direct. Anyone who over-complicates things is at best insecure and at worst stupid. Children speak the most sense and they haven’t read Nietzsche” (Polly Morgan).
Art is not life
“Love the effect over its cause” (Rupert Goold). “Imagine the stage, not the location” (Lucy Prebble).
Seed crystals precipitate inspiration
“Fragments later act like trigger points” for lyrics / art. “The first draft is never your last draft” (Guy Garvey). “I seem to work best when my hands are occupied with something other than what I’m thinking about” (Polly Stenham). “Your creativity is like a tap: if you don’t use it, it gets clogged up” (Fyfe Dangerfield). “An idea is just a map” (Rupert Goold). “Questions often open the doors of the imagination” (Ian Rickson). “Things that motivate me include questions I can’t answer easily” (Jasmin Vardimon).
Failure is just another draft
“Don’t be scared of failure” (Guy Garvey). “If I hadn’t made the works I’m ashamed of, the ones I’m proud of wouldn’t exist” (Polly Morgan). “Try to create an atmosphere where people feel free to take risks. Fear can shut down creativity, as can the pressure to impress” (Ian Rickson). “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original” (Ken Robinson).
Upend your ideas
“Once there’s an idea, turn it upside down and take it seriously for a moment—even if it seems silly” (Sunand Prasad). “Collaborate: Go on a journey with someone who is as different to you as chalk and cheese” (Akram Khan).
Look at, watch, listen to other art(ists)
“There is so much to learn from them” (Tamara Rojo). “Every so often I see someone who inspires me to try something different” (Martha Wainwright). “Be as collaborative as possible. Other creative people are a resource that needs to be exploited” (Anthony Neilson). “Sometimes, too, I look at other artworks or films to get an idea of what not to do” (Isaac Julien). “Gather inquisitive and reflective people around you” (Sunand Prasad). Believing that a single person can be an artistic genius is like asking someone to swallow the sun” (Elizabeth Gilbert).
Hard work comes before inspiration
“Hard work comes in your years of training [drawing, stretching, singing, acting], That work is there to support your instinct and your ability to empathize” (Tamara Rojo). “Keep practicing scales” (Sunand Prasad). “Hard work isn’t always productive. Your brain needs periods of inactivity” (Polly Morgan).
Listen to music. Don’t listen to music
“I listen to music. It’s about occupying one part of your brain, so that the other part is clear to be creative” (Polly Stenham). “When you’re writing, you have to be very disciplined, find a space to work without any distractions” (Fyfe Dangerfield). “Listen to music to find a way into your project. Music is incredibly evocative” (Anthony Neilson). “I love silence. I can’t listen to music while I work and I need to be alone” (Susan Philipsz).
Inspiration and Creativity Bibliography
Books and Articles
Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, “The Creativity Crisis,” Newsweek, filed 7/10/10, http://www.newsweek.com/creativity-crisis-74665
Kevin Brown, “Interdisciplinary Course helps Students Tap into Creativity,” The University Record, April 15, 2013. www.ur.umich.edu/update/archives/130415/creativity
Olivia Gude, “Playing, Creativity, Possibility,” Art Education: Journal of the National Art Education Association, March 2010, https://naea.digication.com/omg/Playing_Creativity_Possibility-coming
Ken Robinson, The Element, New York: Viking, 2009.
Tony Wagner, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, NY: Scribner, 2012.
Elizabeth Gilbert, “Your elusive creative genius,” http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius
Ken Robinson, “How schools kill creativity,” http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity
Amy Tan, “Where does creativity hide?” http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_tan_on_creativity