We work in an industry where ‘creativity’ is a word that’s bandied around a billion times a day (approximately). But in reality, very few can truly pull it out of the bag.
And even fewer can define exactly what creativity is. I’ve been asked more times than I can remember to define creativity, or describe the ‘creative process’, and I’ve always been embarrassed to answer that I don’t really know, and I certainly don’t know what my own creative process is – or if I even have one.
During these frequent moments of self-suspicion, I’ve of course consulted Google to answer the question for me – and in doing so, I stumbled upon a quote about creativity from Steve Jobs that seemed to ring true. He said:
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it – they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesise new things.”
And that really is it. It’s not studied, it’s not theoretical, and it’s certainly not learned: it’s instinctive and intuitive. Creativity is weird. It’s diverse and endless. And comes in a variety of forms. But what connects it are the vast swathes of connectors that sit within it. So what a thrill, then, to be in the company of some of the world’s best creative minds, the best connectors…
On the second Friday in June, I got myself along to the Royal Geographical Society for the magnificent Here 2016. Here is an annual symposium featuring some of the world’s best creative talent, from the biggest names to the most cutting-edge practitioners. Curated by It’s Nice That, it’s a fun, fast-paced day of insight and inspiration which brings together 600 delegates from across the creative industries. Speakers included:
Wilfrid Wood – sculptor. Best known for building latex heads for Spitting Image
Omar Sosa – Art Editor/Marco Velardi – Editor-in-Chief. Apartamento magazine
Bob & Roberta Smith – artist/author/musician/activist
Malika Favre – Illustrator. Best known for BAFTA artwork and The New Yorker work/cover
Assemble – Art/architecture/design collective. Best known for winning the Turner Prize.
Yolanda Dominguez – Visual artist. Best known for her Children vs Fashion piece (2015)
Kim Gehrig – Film Director. Best known for 2015 John Lewis Christmas TVC/Sport England ‘This Girl Can’ campaign/Honda ‘Stepping’ TVC
Nadav Kander – Photographer. Best known for his portraits work, specifically the Solitary Portraits collection
Gail Bichler – Design Director, The New York Times Magazine
Richard Turley – SVP Visual Storytelling, MTV
Not designed to tell us how to think or be creative, this was an event simply set up to inspire, and add to our own personal collections of inspiration. Understanding the importance of having an expansive library of personal experiences and different ideas, I came away with some great additions to my shelves of sparks. Sparks that will hopefully at some point, turn into the three cherries:
“There’s a certain amount of intuitive thinking that goes into everything. It’s so hard to describe how things happen intuitively. I can describe it as a computer and a slot machine. I have a pile of stuff in my brain, a pile of stuff from all the books I’ve read and all the movies I’ve seen. Every piece of artwork I’ve ever looked at. Every conversation that’s inspired me, every piece of street art I’ve seen along the way. Anything I’ve purchased, rejected, loved, hated. It’s all in there. It’s all on one side of the brain.
And on the other side of the brain is a specific brief that comes from my understanding of the project and says, okay, this solution is made up of A, B, C, and D. And if you pull the handle on the slot machine, they sort of run around in a circle, and what you hope is that those three cherries line up, and the cash comes out.”
Paula Scher, Graphic Designer
Soak everything up to be in with a chance of the jackpot. Thanks Here 2016 – you’ve definitely improved my odds.