How Creativity Works

Friday, March 04, 2011

Where does creativity come from? Kurt Andersen, host of Studio 360, joins its founding producer Julie Burstein to talk about her new book, culled from the archives of the series: Spark: How Creativity Works (Harper, 2011)

Call in or leave your comment below! How do you find your creative spark? Is it more like going to work, or more like thinking and dreaming? And are you driven to create more by the beautiful, the terrible or the ordinary?


Kurt Andersen and Julie Burstein

Comments [20]

Amy from Manhattan

All this "alone or together"/"beautiful, terrible, or ordinary" sounds too either/or to me--esp. from Brian, who's always championing both/and! I sometimes write songs, & it seems to me that I get the initial idea from something out in the world; some of it develops naturally, but then I have to "take it inside" (which can mean home or just in my head) to work out the rest. For (an old) example, my Y2K bug song was triggered by the approach of Y2K the event, & then I needed to work out the rhymes & scansion just by running through the different options till I found what worked. So was that beautiful? terrible? ordinary? No, it was mostly funny.

Mar. 04 2011 11:55 AM

Sorry, this is not related to the show, but about the pledge - the pictures on your thank you gifts page aren't working; if you click on the description links it comes up with a 404. Not good!

Mar. 04 2011 11:51 AM
sel from brooklyn

For me I think there is a contrast between the ordinary and the horrible that sparks me.

I also think creative people are obsessive people so it does result as in being a bit mad and also figuring out solutions/ideas/work out problems.

Mar. 04 2011 11:44 AM
Erica from BK

My inspiration for music comes from exploring the beauty in the ugly.

Mar. 04 2011 11:44 AM
art525 from Park SLope

Paul McCartney tells a story that he came up with Yesterday in his dreams. He woke up in the morning humming the song, went around asking everyone if it was familiar and finally came to the conclusion that he had made it up.

Mar. 04 2011 11:43 AM
Erica from BK

My inspiration for music comes from exploring the beauty in the ugly.

Mar. 04 2011 11:42 AM
Jason Howard from Norwalk,CT

Running has inspired me over 45 years-college, acting/directing, teaching, job-seeking. The longer the run, the better the thought. Doing 50,100 mile runs in beautiful locations. Sound of the body, the beats, breaths,and footfall make it. No iPods.

Mar. 04 2011 11:40 AM
John Freund from Ridgefield Park, NJ

My most creative period as a songwriter was when I had a day job as a computer programmer. The process of the two were very similar - each creation had a beginning/middle/end and needed to communicate something - I was usually working on both simultaneously. The constant electricity going through my wiring created a kind of magnetic field that was continually attracting inspiration. I found it everywhere. Boy, do I miss those days!

Mar. 04 2011 11:38 AM
Sue from brooklyn

I get my creative spark from aimless wandering around Manhattan with spontaneous stops. I usually bring a camera, just in case I see soemthing I can use in an art piece. I also get inspired by sketching in one of the museums - any object/pattern/form that captures my attention. Also by speaking with artist friends about each other's work - feeding off each other's comments, ideas, critiques.

Mar. 04 2011 11:28 AM
Kris Enos from East Village, NYC

I am a photographer and my best ideas come to me in the shower. Times that I feel blocked and can't find a concept or project idea, a shower daydream/brainstorm always works.

Mar. 04 2011 11:26 AM
Mike from Tribeca

Each morning, Rene Magritte would wake up, don his business suit, eat his breakfast, and commute to his studio just like a bourgeois businessman, which is hilarious since he was one of the least bourgeois people who ever lived.

Mar. 04 2011 11:26 AM

I found that my creative spark was diminished after going on antidepresssants (even a low dose).

Mar. 04 2011 11:21 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Does "general eyebrow-raiser" mean Kurt raises his own eyebrows (after all, we can't see them on the radio!) or causes other people to raise theirs? And the crucial question: just 1 eyebrow or both??

Mar. 04 2011 11:19 AM
Maude from Park SLope

Also--just curious what these guys think of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way

Mar. 04 2011 11:18 AM
Maude from Park Slope

I'm a book cover designer. I love to gather ideas, images, fonts, etc. But I NEVER leave enough time for the execution of the ideas. I am trying to change this behavior b/c I end up staying up all night before the deadline and I am getting way too old for that.

Mar. 04 2011 11:17 AM
Lilu from Somerville, NJ

As a professional belly dancer for performing/teaching/ and choreography. I end to get my creativity by feeling out my students and what they are capable to accomplish. As for me for performance I use procastination! I guess its a thinking situation before I finally put the "work" and visualization down.

Mar. 04 2011 11:17 AM
Janet from Montclair

I find my creativity increases dramatically when I have a deadline.

Mar. 04 2011 11:16 AM

Brian, why on earth are YOU doing segments like this? I've been listening for 20 years and you are not good at them, leave it to Lenny. Your strengths are really with the hard-core politics....blahhhh!

Mar. 04 2011 11:16 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

I'm a visual artist. I'm driven more to create by the beautiful AND the terrible.

I like dualities.

I'm constantly getting images and ideas and concepts in my head. Too many to get to them all. But in order to create my work and bring something to completion, I have to force myself to do the work even if I'm not feeling particularly "inspired" at the moment (if I waited for that, the work would only get done sporadically).

I agree with the guests these are phases, I don't think it's an either or situation...both phases are part of the creative process

Mar. 04 2011 11:14 AM
B.Rowe from Weschester county, NY

In his book, Old Masters & Young Geniuses, David Galenson differentiates between artists that he calls experimental innovators and those he calls conceptual innovators. Experimental innovators use their medium as a process to uncover meaning (think: Robert Frost or Paul Cezanne), the value of their work is seen over a life time; but conceptual innovators use their medium to communicate a specific concept (think: Ezra Pound or Pablo Picasso), their most valuable work is at the beginning of their careers.

Question: in light of the fact that technology has made us a “present tense” society, are we as a whole tending to equate creativity with young geniuses over those whose creativity is seen in looking at the evolution of their work?

Mar. 04 2011 10:34 AM

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