Creativity is Messy —
Walk In A Great Creative’s Shoes

Pop over to this post on Eric Carle’s blog (writer/illustrator and creator of The Very Hungry Caterpillar) to get a look at this great illustrator’s shoes after he’s been busy at work. 

The photo of his paint stained leather shoes was posted in response to questions from a kindergarten class who had watched him creating a large mural – they wondered how he didn’t get messy with paint flying.

Turns out, he does.  But, rather than be concerned by it he writes: 

Making pictures and creating art can sometimes be a messy job. But that’s ok. I’ve grown to enjoy the spots and dots that my work sometimes leaves behind and occasionally, without even realizing it, the inadvertent mess or the “mistakes” I make, end up seeming more interesting than I ever would have expected.  — Eric Carle

Some of his mess becomes artwork itself, as he illustrates with the framed yogurt lids in his post.

Two take-aways —

  • Bad Mess – Even in kindergarten we are being taught to limit our creativity so as not to create a mess. 
  • Good Mess – Great Creative’s don’t worry too much about the mess.

So, where does your workplace land on the spectrum of good mess/bad mess thinking?

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4 Responses to Creativity is Messy —
Walk In A Great Creative’s Shoes

  1. Brad Shorr says:

    Fred, A long time ago I read an interview with David Byrne, the brilliantly eccentric Talking Heads songwriter/musician. The interviewer asked him where he got the ideas for his songs. Byrne said something like, I spread photos and news clippings all over my table and see what happens. Creative genius takes random, messy elements and gives them form and meaning. That’s how God formed us, come to think of it. Messes are the raw material of any created work.

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..9 Ways to Discover Your Marketing Purpose

    • I like that image of Byrne and raw material. And that a great talent explains their process as ‘see what happens,’ — that is both humbling and probably accurate way to describe it. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Ja-Nae says:

    OH, I definitely have some cleaning to do. 😉 Nice article, Fred.
    .-= Ja-Nae´s last blog ..NPR wants to know: Who hates Voicemail? =-.