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”)
A hallmark of a healthy creative culture is that its people feel free to share ideas, opinions, and criticisms. Lack of candor, if unchecked, ultimately leads to dysfunctional environments.
—Ed Catmull, President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. In this Milkin Institute discussion (1:19:41) Catmull discusses his book Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration.
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).
PRH allowed me to merge two things that have always been personally valuable, which is community activism and empowerment and art. It allows those things to come together very naturally; it’s not forced.
— Social sculptor Rick Lowe, founder of Houston’s Project Row Houses (PRH) and 2014 MacArthur Fellows Genius Grant Recipient. A video clip (2:20) that lets you witness the transformative potential of art.