Stop Saying You’re Not Creative, Part 5

I hope you’re enjoying this series on creativity as much as I’m enjoying writing it!  Here’s some more about how we can help get our creative juices flowing.

Spend time with other Creative Types

Remember “The Far Side?”  One of my favorite Far Side cartoons depicted a teenage boy sitting at a classroom desk taking a test.  From under his shirt, he is pulling out what appears to be a brain.  The caption reads, “Midway through the exam, Allen pulls out a bigger brain.”  Wouldn’t be great to have a few extra brains to put to use when we’re trying to be creative?  Actually, when you expose yourself to the creativity of others, that’s what you’re doing.

I love to see what kind of ideas other people come up with.  That’s one of my favorite parts of watching  competitions at our puppet festivals.  People get to share their creativity, and other people are inspired to new creativity of their own.  But I’m not just talking about turning to others who are in the same field as you.  Someone who is trying to be more creative as a children’s pastor can move closer to that goal by exposing themselves to the creativity of others in music, poetry, painting, film…just about anything.

There are certain people throughout history who I consider “heroes of creativity.”  These are people who’s work inspires me to greater levels.  Most of these people had nothing to do with ministry, many aren’t even Christians, yet the things they produced spark something in the back of my mind.  Here are a few of my “heroes of creativity.”  Who are some of yours?

Jim Henson: I’m a puppeteer, so the man who transformed the face of American puppetry is obviously going to be an influence.  He was always coming up with something new.  He embraced puppetry techniques both simple and complex.  His contribution to the art of puppetry may never be surpassed.

Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and other silent film comedians: The silent film era intrigues me.  These artists had none of the technology in stunts, special effects, or even sound, that filmmakers have today, but they produced amazing material despite these limitations.

Jackie Chan :You read that right…Kung Fu cinema star Jackie Chan!  I love kung fu movies and Jackie is the king of that genre!  He and his team manage to come up with wildly creative fight and stunt sequences which usually have a touch of humor to them as well.  Jackie is actually the screen performer who is closest in style to the silent film comics of the past.  I once saw a documentary about him which showed how he has a large file cabinet full of clippings from newspapers and magazines that he uses to come up with ideas for his movies.  He’s a very creative person.

Danny Elfman: Elfman is a composer of film scores, though he began his music career as the leader of the 80’s band Oingo Boingo.  He’s written the music for film’s such as “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure,” “Batman,” “Men in Black,” “Spider-Man,” and the recent “Alice in Wonderland.”  His scores compliment the action on screen and his frequent use of unusual instruments in his music has intrigued me for years.

George Lucas :You know this guy!  He made a little movie called “Star Wars.”  In the process he created another world that is so “real” to thousands of fans.

The Fleischer Studios: I’m a big fan of classic animation.  I love the work of Walt Disney (another creativity hero for sure) and the Looney Tunes series, but the cartoons that intrigue me the most are those produced by the Fleischer brothers.  They produced cartoons staring characters like Betty Boop, Popeye the Sailor, Koko the Clown, and even a short series of Superman cartoons.  Their films display a unique style of animation you won’t find in the work of some of the more famous animation pioneers.

Al Hirschfeld: Hirschfeld was famous for his caricatures of Broadway stars which somehow look so simple yet so complex all at once.  I also love that he managed to hide the name of his daughter “Nina” somewhere in most of his drawings.  My kids and I love studying his drawings and  “looking for Ninas.”

BB King : The King of the blues.  I don’t think I can describe it, you just have to hear what this man can do with a guitar.  Just the fact that he gave his guitar a name, Lucille, should clue you in to the man’s huge creativity.

I could go on…but that’s enough to give you an idea.

I’ve never met any of these people.  Many of them are no longer with us…but I spend time with them quite a bit.  I love to experience the fruit of their creativity.  It gives me enjoyment (which I’m sure was their goal in the first place) but it also helps trigger ideas of my own.

So, who are you’re “heroes of creativity.”  I’m sure you have some, even if you haven’t thought about it in those terms.   What types of artistic expression inspire you?  Obviously, you can tell from my list that I’m a big fan of the movies.  Perhaps the works of painters or poets inspire you more.  It’s amazing how experiencing the work of creative people can trigger your own creativity.  The work of a great painter can inspire you to paint something great as well, but the work of a great painter could also inspire you toward an idea that helps kids remember the weekly memory verse.

I’d love to hear about some of our readers’ “heroes of creativity.”  Please share some in the comments below!

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One Response to “Stop Saying You’re Not Creative, Part 5”

  1. Rain Jacket · Says:

    my file cabinets are made of recycled fiber, they are great for holding large file folders ~”:

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