4 Things Andy Goldsworthy Taught Me About Creativity

When I was going through my master's program studying "educational media production" I had to produce an art piece inspired by Andy Goldsworthy.  My instructor for this course was probably the most influential educator of my life: Jeff Goodman (check out his viral YouTube video here).  

Anyways, I recently listened to an interview on NPR where Goldsworthy was discussing his creative processes.  This inspired me to create a similar project for my digital art students.  

As we were exploring Goldsworthy's work, his processes and discussing our curiosities I was reflecting on what his work has taught me about art and creativity.  I started journaling about this and here are the 4 main points that stand out concerning "creativity":

 

Time Is Key

Time affects us all and everything around us.  Our art is affected over time if its on paper, in nature, around humans, etc.  It's an element of life that we have to consider to maximize our creativity and lives.  Allowing this element to interact with our art and minds is difficult to do but it's slowly becoming more and more important in my creative life. As someone who is ultra-driven and hyper-productive, I am challenged everyday to allow myself the "time" I need to boost my creativity and art.  

Even while I'm writing this, I reflect on the most important projects and moments in my life.  They all have one common element that was painstakingly intertwined in them: Time was allowed to interact with the outcome.

 

It's About the Process

If you have watched Rivers and Tides, the short documentary about Andy Goldsworthy, you were probably heartbroken when you saw him work on a piece for several hours only to watch it all collapse at the hand of one mistake.  

I watched this segment again and starting thinking about how unimportant the "end product" is.  It's the journey that has true value.  What did we learn? How did I connect with others?  What will I do differently next time?  Did I give my all?

As our society becomes more and more real, this becomes equally more and more important for us as creatives.  People want to hear how you did something.  They want know what struggles you went through and how you overcame them.  There lies the value that we all look for in our creative lives.

 

Failure Is Imminent

Start all of your creative endeavors with the understanding that everything you try will fail in some way, shape or form.  That's difficult for me because I plan to not fail.  I plan a lot actually.  Sometimes too much.  

I'm curious what would happen if we (I) entered into our creative projects actually planning to fail.  Planning to learn from those failures.  And ultimately giving ourselves the freedom to non-judgmentally all that is "failure". 

*Don't agree with this one? Watch this video from Seth Godin entitled "Quieting the Lizard".

 

Use What You Have 

Goldsworthy literally walks into nature with nothing and makes something.  He looks around. He's curious.  He's resourceful. 

So many times I've told myself "if I learn this then I can do ..." or "if I only had this then I could make...".  What a waste of time that was.  We are in 2015.  If you want to do something or make something then you can.  You have EVERYTHING you need to produce any creative project that you want.  You have more information, resources and tools available at your fingertips then anyone else in the history of the world.  

If your like me then that's overwhelming at times.  To know that if I wanted to I could go out and learn how to open beer with paper or learn how to be a ninja this afternoon is all pretty overwhelming.  Maybe take some time to journal or involve others in your ideas.  This helps me to "use what I have".

 

Creatively,

Mark

P.S. I recently wrote some blog posts on how I live as an artist with Borderline Personality Disorder . Please share them if they help you or if you know someone who might benefit from them.  Thank you in advance.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Maya

Mark Maya Photography, Durham, NC, 27707, United States

Mark Maya is a photographer and educator from Durham, NC.

Mark Maya is a wedding photographer and educator from Durham, NC.