Having just returned from Burning Man at Black Rock Desert in Nevada, I thought it would be pertinent to draw some reflexions from that high energy mass event. In this post I will only use the event as a canvas for thoughts related to creativity, but I promise I will get back to the actual event in a later post – after I have edited and processed the pictures I took in Black Rock Desert.
Burning Man is a very special festival, and a lot can be said about it, but one thing that really struck me was the incredible amount of creative burst being emitted all over the place during those intense days in the desert. Burners – as they are called – put a lot of energy into creating their different camps and they build installations and works of art – some of them huge and quite impressive – on the so-called Playa, which lies in the centre of this huge temporary city that is created out in one of the most hostile environments one can imagine. Burners made performances, they gave lectures, and they made all kinds of fun arrangements for other Burners. And most evidently they used themselves as creative expressions, applying clothes, apparels, hair design, lights, constructions to strap on themselves or just make-up and lots of colours. It was very playful, and it seems like Burning Man brings out the child in every participant. And that is exactly where I want to go with this post.
Creativity requires that we open up to our child inside of us again. As we grow out of childhood, we lose our ability to boil over with that spontaneous, childish creativity. As grownups we need to behave and we need to conform to the norms of the society. And in doing so, we lose this wonderful creativity that every one of us has experience and held in our souls as children.
«Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up». Those are the words of none other than Pablo Picasso; one who indeed was able to keep the child within him alive.
How do the rest of us keep that child in us alive? There is no easy answer to the question. But for a starter; let go of all those inhibitions adulthood has imposed upon us. Don’t be afraid to make a fool out of yourself. Take joy in all those small moments life presents to us around every corner. Be curios. Be blissful. And express all your inherent creativity as often as you can, not thinking about what others will think about it and not thinking about whether you know how to do it or not. Create with joy and excitement!
«What most people need more than anything is to unlearn what they’ve learned, to be less serious about everything and anything that otherwise contributes to their stress, because they futilely attempt to achieve some ridiculously lofty standard.» This is Lorenzo Dominques and the quote is taken from his highly successful book 25 Lessons I’ve Learned about Photography…Life.
He continues: «When you can integrate play into your work somehow, when you can laugh at all your mistakes, when you find yourself smiling for most of the day, then you’ll find that you’re achieving something worthwhile. If you can’t whistle while you work, if you’re consistently miserable while you toil, than maybe it is time that you either change careers or change your attitude (at least, until you find a new job).»
Maybe you don’t need to change career. But if you want to get back to that blissful creative feeling you had in you all the time as a kid, it’s really time to bring that child out again, be less serious about yourself, and simply have more fun. Don’t you think?