Accidental creativityIvan | Sun, 2004-09-12 16:48
Sometimes a creative idea hits you when you least expect it. The other day I wanted to try out the ink-jet iron-on transfer for t-shirts, so I sat down to think of a cool design. I like to use books with pictures as inspiration, so I took a book about modern art to see if I get an idea. I opened up the book on Joseph Kossuth's frames. It's a conceptual piece of art. His art piece consists of three objects besides each other. A frame, a picture of that frame and the dictionary definition of the word frame.
I thought I can do something similar for my t-shirt design. First, I deep etched a bug from a picture I took the other day. Than, I looked up the word bug and wanted to put it's definition beside it. But, while I was searching for the right paragraph I realized that it would be more interesting if I would rather put the definition relating to a defect or difficulty in a system or design instead of the defintion to it as an insect or listening device, simply because I'm a geek.
However I wasn't happy with my design because Joseph's original piece had three stages and I only had two, so I felt like I'm missing something, but I settled for this design because I thought the twist in using the second meaning makes up for the lack of stages. So, I printed out the design and ironed it on the t-shirt carefully following the instructions. After a long one minute of waiting for the transfer to cool down I could finally start to peel off the paper from the t-shirt. Only to find out that I was such an idiot not to take into consideration that I should've flipped the design horizontally. I was very pissed because it was a cool t-shirt and I thought I ruined it.
At this point my wife and a friend came in and asked what I was doing. I showed them how I screwed up. They told me that it's no way a screw up and that's how it should be. It's all about a bug remember! True, the third phase of my t-shirt design suddenly fell in place. I have the picture of the bug, the definition and an example of a design with a bug. I was delighted. By accident I created a really cool design, with several layers of meaning.
One can only hope that such luck finds him, when there is an urgent need for real world award winning designs. Nevertheless surrounding yourself with stuff that inspires you, making sure your senses are alert and following a creative plan of attack are certainly helpful.
This event reminded me of a story I was told about at the University by my teacher of history of modern art. Ironically, this story was about an artist who Joseph Kossuth frequently quoted. The professor told us about this extremely successful artist, who have created several groundbreaking conceptual pieces of art and was considered as one of the most important figures in the modern times. He was on the peek of his career, when one day he suddenly told the public that he retires from being an artist and from than on he will devote his life to chess only. It was a dissapointment for many and fans didn't stop nagging him to continue doing his great work. He resisted for several years, and just about when everybody gave up on him, he announced that he's going to make a last piece of art before he truly retires forever. Everybody was very anxious to see what will he come up with. This piece of art was very complex in it's meaning and it's physical execution and it was made up of large sheets of glass. He worked on it for a very long time and couldn't get it finished, because he wasn't completely happy with it. Finally the artwork had to be released for the exhibition. While shipping the big heavy piece, the workers who carried the artwork hit the glass surface against a hard corner, which made the meticulously prepared artwork to crack. The artist stopped, looked at his baby and happily noted: "Now it's ready for the show!". The now famous crack became an integral part of the artwork.
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