Are You Noticing?

As we shuffled through the crowds that swarmed the Van Gogh And The Seasons Exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria a few days ago, two things struck me.

Firstly, how the masses flock to see the work of a world famous artist, whether its to their taste or not, to experience this story in both words and images, and then tell their own story of ‘being there’.

And then I wondered whether people were truly ‘being there’ in the moment. Were they really noticing the beauty of the artwork… the subject, story, meaning, composition, mood, brushstrokes, colours, shades, layers, patterns, textures and techniques?

Often we are too busy clicking a button to ‘capture moments’ on the surface, that we actually miss the beauty within the moments.

I wonder how much more we would notice and how much deeper our stories would go, if we truly and fully experienced the moment?

 

 

A Tale of Creativity

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How do you explain creativity to three year olds?

A little girl walks into the gallery and begins exploring. She discovered a car that had been transformed into a ball, a maze of mirrors, flowers that you can pick, a fountain sliding down the window, oh and some pretty big paintings that told interesting stories. She climbed the escalators, turned a corner and heard some unusual noises coming from a nearby room. Inside was a round pool of floating bowls, moving and chiming as they touched. She imagined swimming in there and making music too. She was curious to know how the bowls made such beautiful sounds. “I didn’t know bowls could make music!” she gasped excitedly. Her curiosity ran wild as she watched what was happening in the pool. How did it get there? How did the bowls float? After some time observing and questioning, she felt she understood enough to go home and create her own floating symphony ready for bath time.

Creativity is about exploring, learning and using your imagination to create things.

My audience this week was my youngest ever (3-4yr olds). Watching these curious little faces with their innocent questions and delightful contributions was a heart warming experience. My book on creativity is heading for the printers soon and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to share and test some of the concepts with these curious little people.

Do You Say ‘No’ Enough?

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When you’re asked to do something that prevents you from doing your best work, how often do you say “No, I’m sorry, but I won’t do that because…”?

I went to see the exhibition of Danish fashion designers Viktor & Rolf at the NGV a few days ago and was particularly interested in the stance they controversially took against the fashion industry and its crazy fast pace. They just wanted to do their best work.

“We love fashion, but it’s going so fast. We wanted to say ‘No’ this season.” said the designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren to a  group of devoted fans and curious reporters. Their statement was expressed on the runway with a model wearing a grey trench-coat with ‘No’ incorporated into the design of the garment.

What would happen if you said ‘No’ more often when being asked to do things that prevent you from doing your best work?

You may lose a fan, project or client, perhaps shake things up a little within your industry, but are you throwing your souls to the wind if you don’t? The people that respect what you do will stand by you, find you and encourage you. They’re the ones that matter.

You can either focus on doing your best work, becoming known and respected for this, or do whatever is thrown your way, get lost in the crowd and be discontent in your work.

There’s always a choice.  Where will ‘No’ take you?

What Do You See?


What you want people to see and what they actually see, may be very different.

Whether you’re looking at a masterpiece, a business, a place, a person… how people perceive things varies considerably. You can leave them to their own visual interpretation, let them create their own narrative, or you can serve it to them on a silver platter with precise words, perfect images and very little room for interpretation.

Either way, people will take what’s useful, relevant and appealing, and leave what’s not. Their imagination may fill the gaps, or may not. You can’t predict human behavior, but if you take time to discover and understand what people really care about, you’re off to a good start.

Create what’s useful, relevant and appealing – for the people you want to engage with.

Photo by Rochelle Martyn.