Learning, Innovation & Tech

Bombs & Breakthroughs

Charlie Rose: The Creative Brain

CJ Westerberg, October 26, 2011 11:07 AM

Charlie rose.jpg

"Inspiration is for amateurs. 
The rest of us just show up and get to work.
Because everything grows out of work. 
You do something and it kicks open a door . . .
 -  artist Chuck Close 

Highly recommended is this Charlie Rose segment, "The Creative Brain", the final of a 12-part series on the brain for a fascinating journey with accomplished artists and neurologists that has implications about learning, creativity and work.  Click link to view.

Shattering "myths" such as the concept of the isolated artist and creativity as an exclusive left-brain activity, Rose and his round table of notables in the creative and neurological fields also surprise with findings about learning disabilities, copying others' work, creativity in science and motivation in one's work.

The panel include painter Chuck Close and neurologist Oliver Sacks,brain.shootingstars.jpg
both of whom have developmental prosopagnosia (faceblindness),
sculptor Richard Serra, Museum of Modern Art curator Ann Tempkin
and Eric Kandel of Columbia University.

Chuck Close, who is a painter of face portraits while also not being able to distinguish faces, explained how his work "was always driven by his learning disabilities" (which also include dyslexia)  by using coping mechanisms such as breaking down tasks into incremental steps to prevent being overwhelmed.   Interesting to also note both he and Serra attended Yale at the same time with numerous other accomplished artists which created a fertile environment for sharing of ideas and experimentation.

One of the more memorable exchanges was between Close and Sacks about the subject of imitation, copying and learning:

"Imitation may be an essential preliminary to any achievement".  By refining a technique or developing the language, it may be only then one can "infuse it" with one's own imagination, "but you can't do anything new until a great deal has become automatic or second-nature".

"You get your chops by digesting other people's creativity . . . once you leave it alone, you will be able to find something more personal."

"IF you can leave it alone . . .you may be stuck in imitation . . ."

Let us know what you think.
A good one for the weekend - 53 minutes.

---- C.J. Westerberg

Originally Published The Daily Riff  - November 5,  2010

Related posts in The Daily Riff:

What Makes Kids Creative?  A Box or a Spaceship?

The Creative Crisis via Newsweek - "The correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment was more than three times stronger for childhood creativity than childhood IQ."

The Creativity Initiative in Singapore by Bill Jackson

The Anti-Creativity Checklist

How Creative are You?  . . . this test is that measures (and values)  exactly the opposite qualities that are generally most valued in schools, especially in middle and high schools, where compliance, conformity and rigid adherency to instruction . . .


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It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Leonardo da Vinci
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