Day 74: 4 lessons about creativity.

Julie Burstein is a radio host and creator of the show, ‘Studio 360’, which explores pop culture and the arts. Burstein is adamant that storytelling is the best way to explain creativity; in this talk she shares the stories of 4 people she’s interviewed as part of her work.

Film-maker Mira Nair runs the company, ‘Mirabai Films.’ She describes the small town in India she grew up in; a place of 2000 temples, where they played cricket on the street and she was inspired by the great battles of good and evil taking place in the travelling folk theatre she witnessed.

Prize winning novelist Richard Ford drew on one of the most challenging facets of his youth to develop a love and understanding for words. As a dyslexic child he was forced to linger over each word on the page. He credits this with helping him to write sentences later.

Sculptor Richard Serra began as a painter, until one day in the Prado in Madrid he saw a painting by Diego Velazquez and realized he would never emulate him. Instead of giving up art, he moved to New York and playfully explored what he could do with the shapes of materials.

Burstein tells us the embrace of loss is one of the hardest lessons. ‘In order to create, we have to stand in that space between what we see in the world and what we hope for, looking squarely at rejection, at heartbreak, at war, at death.’ This is a familiar concept to the photographer, Joel Meyerowitz, whose studio looked over the Twin Towers in New York. He was out of town for 9/11 and when he returned, found himself like any other passerby, standing at the fence. Meyerowitz managed to obtain a press pass and spent nine months photographing the destruction daily, in order to leave a record of events.

We all live in a constant cycle of creation and destruction, of letting go and control, of picking up the pieces and making something new. Creativity is essential; whatever your medium or experience, art is made not because the artist wants to make something pretty, or acclaimed, but because they need to create that work.


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