Viciously Pursue New Ideas & Influences
There is nothing quite like the contagiousness of a good idea. That feeling you get when you’ve stumbled upon some new way of thinking, some new designer or artist, some new philosopher. Suddenly everything is different. Your thinking is changing. Your work begins to transform itself. You find yourself becoming bolder, more ambitious, more experimental.
I think increasingly, these are the moments I live for. I’ve been fortunate to feel this kind of euphoric excitement for life and for new ideas for the last two or three years. It is something I hope to never lose. And it is something I increasingly recognize must be carefully maintained.
The great joy of the information age is the ease with which we can choose to live in such a joyful whirlwind of inspiration. It takes some degree of dedication, if only dedication to avoiding complacency.
There is a myth that exists among artists that inspiration comes from some secret place within ourselves. Among artists who believe this the tendency is to shut out the world from infecting their internal source of inspiration. I don’t subscribe to this way of thinking about creativity.
I believe creativity comes from absorbing as many influences as possible and finding new and unique combinations for ideas and influences. The more that I dive into subcultures, read obscure but brilliant texts, or watch unique films, the more I find these influences appearing in my own work and causing greater and greater generation of new material.
It can become easy to become comfortable with a sort of “creative status-quo.” It is comfortable to believe you have a firm grasp on what is out there. And in a way, it is easy to succumb to the trap that if someone else is producing incredible work, you are somehow at fault for not having done the same. It can be frightening to venture into uncharted territory. You may worry about wasting your time on something you have never explored before. These doubts are natural but only obstructive. The success of others in no way inhibits your own creative triumph. The time spent exploring the unknown can only be either inspiring or at least give you greater artistic context.
So it becomes increasingly important to dedicate time and energy to testing the waters of the new and the unseen. Such a dedication ultimately sustains the flame of your own creative fire, and very crucially it sustains the love for and excitement for that gentle euphoria of inspiration that first brought you with excitement to the work you now pursue.