Inspirational Insights

Views of art and creativity from thought leaders and literature

Possibly nothing at all; the overflow of my brain would probably, in a state of freedom, have evaporated in a thousand follies; misfortune is needed to bring to light the treasures of the human intellect. Compression is needed to explode gunpowder. Captivity has brought my mental faculties to a focus; and you are well aware that from the collision of clouds electricity is produced — from electricity, lightning, from lightning, illumination.

— In Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo the wrongfully imprisoned Edmond Dantès, marveling at the elegant tools and writings the indomitable Abbé Faria created from prison discards exclaims, “What would you not have accomplished if you had been free?” The Abbé’s response highlights how true creativity and ingenuity are born in constraint. (Chapter 17, “In the Abbé’s Cell”)

Teaching is more than direct instruction. Teaching is a process of enabling. It’s a process of giving people opportunities. It’s a process of encouragement. It’s a process of inspiration and of mentoring.

— Educator, researcher, writer, and speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, author of Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative. Can Creativity Be Taught? (video, 6:55) introduces some of his guiding beliefs and will link you to other talks.

What I love about cartooning is that I have access to two different kinds of communication. There is verbal language. I love writing. I love putting sentences together. But language remains symbolic. It has to be filtered through our brains, whereas drawing is right there. It’s immediate, you just assimilate it without having to think about it. I love having access to both kinds of communication when I tell my stories.

— Cartoonist and Graphic Memoirist, Alison Bechdel, creator of ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ and 2014 MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant Recipient. In two video clips, she discusses her motivations and the affirmation of the MacArthur Foundation award (3:23) and she shares her creative and technical process (5:05).