One of my favourite blogs Absolutley Beautifuful Things written by Anna Spiro, featured a wonderful post about creativity today which really got me thinking about the process designers, artists , photographers ,and really anyone in the creative field ,uses to come up with original ideas and designs.
In her post, Anna quotes John Mason with these amazing words: “You were born an original, don’t die a copy”. These are powerful words….how many of us (designers) use ideas gleaned from the latest magazines and inspiration from photographs and blogs….really and truly, how original are our thoughts and ideas? To quote Anna : “Can we be original, an innovator and create something we can truly call our own”. I can honestly say that I am hugely influenced by books and magazines in my area of work and most of my briefs in the decorative painting work are given to me by a designer or consultant who has most certainly been influenced by designs from history…especially here in the Middle East and particularly when traditional designs are required. The original designs are and were the original thought process of an artist ,who then carved or painted the complex designs on to whatever surface they were working on.
This post also made me wonder if in this age of technology and information overload, are we not re-hashing designs and ideas over and over again from thousands of different sources? Are we ever going to have an original thought again?
Even my post today has been inspired by something I read on another blog….and yet is that not also the beauty of the net….sharing ideas , thoughts and concepts at the touch of a button?
I have to say I am having a bit of trouble with this whole idea and I know there is going to be a war between the two thoughts in my brain, but I cannot help wondering where all this information will eventually take us. We certainly can never go back and I believe that information really has to be available to everyone, but there is a small part of me that thinks for creativity to thrive, one’s brain really needs to be open to receiving new thoughts and not those necessarily prompted by someone else’s idea or photograph or words. Having just said that, I have yet to see an artists studio, a design studio, an architects office or a fashion design studio which does not have an inspiration board…something which can kick-start a concept and an idea for a project.
What is the very first thing most decorators do when given a new client brief? Source ideas, fabrics and photos to put on a concept or mood board to convey an idea or concept to the client. When I get a brief for decorative painting work, I immediately turn to my historical ornament books for designs to use as a starting point ,and to help me with drawing up patterns for the work.
Perhaps there is no wrong or right answer to this dilemma…..perhaps the best thing to do is to simply say it is what it is…..the information is there for all of us to use and if that means that perhaps someone uses one person’s idea to do something better ,or to spark an idea for something different , it should be seen as what it really is…..growth and creativity at work.