I love creating things, whether I'm developing a TED talk, hosting a conversation series for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, giving a talk about creativity, throwing a tea cup, creating a Peabody Award-winning radio show, or cooking dinner.  My first book, Spark: How Creativity Works, is published by Harper and is released as an audio book.  And please check out my podcast series, Pursuit of Spark! There you'll find conversations about creative approaches to the possibilities, challenges, and pleasures of everyday life.

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 Photo by Pavlina Perry


My Spark Talks continue this season at The Met in spring 2015, with a series I'm very excited about, exploring words and images in ancient and modern art and design.  More information here.


Four lessons in Creativity at TED:

Loved leading a workshop on uncertainty and giving a keynote on creativity at Days of Communication Croatia in May.  Wonderful participants, fascinating stories, and a beautiful setting in Rovinj.  

Thrilled with the recent Spark Talk at The Met on April 30, exploring the way artists play with time, with wonderful guests -- musician Laurie Anderson; Rebecca Stead, author of When You Reach Me; astrophysicist and art historian SeungJung Kim; and Met curator Melanie Holcomb.   

It was a pleasure to give the keynote at the Clifford Symposium at Middlebury College.

Mitch Joel and I had a conversation at TED about creativity, which you can hear on Mitch's Six Pixels of Separation Podcast.

Big Think asked me to speak about creativity for three short segments.

Webcast of my talk for educators at the Smithsonian.

My thoughts about creative struggle in SGI Quarterly.


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Today's blog -- Four lessons in creativity.

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The Four O'clock Problem

This weekend on Studio 360, Kurt and I talk about the ways that artists figure out how to get to work, what to do when they get stuck, and how to figure out when something is done.

One of my favorite stories from the chapter in Spark about work is from sculptor Richard Serra, who talks about what he calls “The four O’clock problem.”  When he was young, and working in his downtown New York City studio with his assistant Philip Glass (yes, Philip Glass the composer, who was then supporting himself as a plumber), they would invariably find themselves wrestling with a problem that they couldn’t solve at about four o’clock every day.  So this is what they would do:

“We’d get on the ferry or we’d get on the subway, because we found that if we took ourselves out of the studio and got into a space where you didn’t have to walk and you were being transported, that actually ideas were exchanged more rapidly. So we used to take ferry boat rides, sounds strange but we did, or we used to get on the subway, and ride back and forth, then go back to the studio, just to get ourselves in a different mindset.”

Excellent advice for whatever work you’re engaged in – when you get stuck, take a break!

What do you do when you hit the four o’clock problem?

Photo of Richard Serra's To Lift by wallyg



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