I discovered that I was a creative person late in life. It was an absolute surprise to me. What stunned me most was how I could be so unaware of it for so long. I liked art as a kid, but it was never strongly encouraged by anyone, and so I didn’t pursue it. My interest came to life again twenty-one years ago, while helping my young niece redecorate her bedroom. I transformed her old furniture with a coat of colorful paint. I was so taken with how paint could dramatically change an old surface, that I continued painting on lots of other pieces of furniture. I incrementally challenged myself to more complex designs on chairs and dressers, and eventually copied famous paintings by Van Gogh and Picasso, just to see if I could pull it off. It felt like a mysterious dormant force was waking up inside me.
When someone suggested art school, I thought it was completely absurd, for I didn’t see myself as an artist. But the idea kept percolating, and eventually, I ignored my fear, and ended up going to art school part-time for ten years while staying home to raise my children. I met Carmela on our first day in Basic Design class. She too was surprised by her mysterious, late-blooming, creative energies. We both wondered how many others have similar creative forces buried deep within? We both found the challenge of art assignments so invigorating, and our creative voices began to grow stronger and braver with each new creation. During our time in art school, we became intrigued by this idea of untapped creativity living inside everyone, and we wanted to find a way to coax it out of people.
If You Create it, They Will Come
In 2005, Carmela and I created an interactive public art project called You Seem to Have Forgotten, as a reminder to people that they were born creative beings, and likely felt creative as kids, but forgot that along the way. We left collage kits in public places and invited people to create collages and post them up on our bulletin board. We had a great response with lots of submissions. We learned that if you present an opportunity to be creative, people will respond.
We brainstormed about how we could create other art-making opportunities for people. Then we started to notice the buzz about creativity in all the business literature, about how the future economy will be about human novelty and innovation. We surmised that if a business wants to be more creative, and we’re creative people, maybe sharing our world and way of thinking will be of benefit? As artists, we continually need our own strategies to keep our creativity flowing and our creative confidence strong. We found that our strategies lend themselves well to anyone seeking to be creative.
We Don’t Just Talk About Creativity. We Make Stuff.
We’ve designed simple exercises to help anyone access their inner voice, and begin the process of listening to that voice. We know how creativity is buried deep within everyone, usually under piles of negativity, fear, and limiting stories about ability. If there are zero opportunities to be creative, how are you ever going to know that part of yourself? In our workshops, we dig a little deeper. They are not a “How to Paint Class”. They are more like a “What’s Inside Me Today? Class” Really interesting things germinate when you begin to express yourself creatively. You’re hard-wired with that ability. We create the setting to coax it out. We do it all the time. We’ll show you how.