The Seed of Creativity

I’ve always had this independent streak… those who know me will tell you. I don’t like people telling me what I “have’ to do. I’ve found in my life that it is very seldom the case that I “have” to do anything and have always quite resented those who would impose their will upon me.

This did not bode well for gainful employment. Oh yes, my internet friend, i have been fired a time or two. What is it about people who pay you that makes them think they are the boss of you? Seriously.

So as I started to discover my creative side, started to understand that it might be the ticket to a place where I could “be my own boss” (a term that I will riff on further at another time to be sure) I realized that I needed a portfolio to start showing people my capability. Sadly I didn’t have any paying clients at the time, so no projects to show to others so I could get work… talk about a Catch 22. I felt like I was kind of stuck. I wasn’t sure how to proceed.

Fred and I talked about that very thing – having a problem and not quite knowing what the solution is.

In fact he and I talked about the Bangerter Highway here in the Salt Lake Valley quite a bit. As his occupation, Fred would purchase the land needed to build roads, Bangerter Highway was one of the biggest of his career. He smiled as we talked about the first time he knocked on people’s doors to explain that a highway would run right through their driveway in a few years…

We talked about the huge construction project that Bangerter Highway is going through right now – Fred knew quite a bit about why they were converting each intersection to be a “continuous flow intersection”.

As a driver I have wondered about these new intersections. Ok, I’ve sworn artfully as I’ve missed the left hand turn lanes that are now about a hundred yards before the intersection. Fred laughed at that – he said lots of people have described their first experience with the CFI (as he called them) the same way. They do take some getting used to.

But here’s the part that interested me. He said that the state was really having a hard time because the highway has so much volume that the streets intersecting it were backing up significantly waiting for the light to change. Then the light would have to be short to keep traffic from building on the highway… it turned into a long wait sometimes to cross the highway. People were complaining. (that is SO unlike people isn’t it?)

He said the state found the same solution that I did as a new artist. They started looking around to see what other people had done to solve the same problem. The state’s solution was found in Mexico City, and they used that model, adjusting it slightly to meet Utah’s needs, and the result has increased traffic flow significantly.

That’s what I found worked for me. A friend told me to simply pretend I was getting paid and do a few projects that I could show around.

So I watched TV a lot (it was “work” you see, research, yeah, that’s it), and I simply would find something on TV that interested me, and I’d work very hard to replicate it on my own computer. I found my creativity always crept in and altered the project so the result ended up being something of my own creation. I got my beginning demo reel, but more important I learned a great strategy…

I learned I could take a seed of creativity from someone else, but the soil of my mind always altered it and made it my own. That was a great lesson to learn early on in my career, and a strategy I still use a lot many years later.

Find a model that’s worked for someone else in a similar situation.

Adapt it to your situation.

Liberally apply your own creativity–and you have your own unique creation that solves your problem in a way that perfectly suits you.

It works for highways.

It works for careers.

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1 Response to The Seed of Creativity

  1. Sara Martin says:

    So true! Whenever I’m stuck, the best way out is to find someone to copy. The great thing about artistic pursuits is, even if you’re inspired by another’s work, your piece will always be different because your mind is different. Great post.


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