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Bits & Pieces?

Bits & Pieces

This week the theme is Curious, the contestants are Danielle Fritz, Michael Prince, Sue Spaight, and myself, and this is what we came up with. Remember to vote!

A. Chasing Shadows

B. Little Explorer

C. The Lookout

D. UPS Man

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It’s 3AM and I’m laying awake thinking about inspiration. What it is, where it comes from, and how to do more of it, better. After all, inspiration is one of our aspirations, here at Jigsaw. We strive to inspire each other, our clients and their customers with our work. And I’m so inspired by you – my community, clients and coworkers – that I honestly cannot wait to get back to work in a few hours. I’d love to get your thoughts on what inspires you as we all jump headlong into 2011.

What is inspiration?

Definitions include arousal of the mind to special unusual activity or creativity; a sudden intuition as part of solving a problem; and the act of inhaling, the drawing in of breath. In fact, if you think about the word origin, it literally means to breathe life into something. One of the coolest double entendres in the English language, IMHO. I think that’s a great way to think about inspiration.

How much better would the world be if we all walked around thinking about breathing more life into each other? (You know, in the metaphorical sense, not, like, actually giving each other mouth-to-mouth.) Wouldn’t that simple approach trump a lot of other minutia that we can get caught up in each day?

Where does inspiration come from?

Motivational posters, mostly.

Actually, check out this Masters of Design project from Fast Company and Canon EOS, Journeys of Inspiration. They sent four master designers out with cameras to capture their personal sources of inspiration. Some fun, inspiring stuff.

Photo: Ken Carbone (used with permission)

Many people draw inspiration from nature. Or other great designs and beautiful forms. Or simply the pages of an empty Moleskine notebook. Or, from the design problem itself that needs to be solved.

The point is, we each have our own very personal sources of inspiration. I may be inspired by the color orange, the art of Paul Klee and the chanting-music of Krishna Das. You may be inspired by things that totally turn me off, like pastel pink, the photography of Anne Geddes, and the Chicago Cubs. *tips hat to creative director Nick Pipitone*

On a higher level, though, as creators and contributors, we probably have some inspirational commonalities. Seeing each other work hard with passion oozing out of our pores is inspiring. Someone saying, “Hey, you kicked a$$ today – thank you” is inspiring. A smart strategic insight is (I hope) inspiring. Breathing life into a great idea together – inspiring that idea – is, itself, inspiring.

So, what inspires you? What could we do more of to breathe more life into 2011? I really want to know. This is not just a rhetorical blog question.

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About a month ago, I visited Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. There were 2 things that really stood out to me.

  1. The infusion of and inspiration from advertising and design into the artworks…Or is it advertising and design inspired by contemporary art?
  2. Overall, the artwork lacked high quality craftsmanship. (Glue was messy, matting was sloppy, ect.)

In any case, I’m a firm believer that art, design, advertising play a role in reflecting and influencing mainstream society—consciously or subconsciously.

But what I’m interested in, is the future of art and design. Are the two disciplines coming together or fighting against one another? Why is craftsmanship overlooked?

And of course, there is a definite rift between those who are creating commercial or fine arts. Stereotypically, you are either selling your soul or you’re a starving artist.

What I’d like to believe is that design is becoming more like the arts and the arts more like design—they are fusing together.

The biggest difference I see between a commercial artists and a fine artists is the need to work together – collaboration. (Not that some commercial artists don’t work alone and some fine artists don’t collaborate.) But maybe, just maybe, when creative people collaborate—ideas, craftsmanship, and execution become stronger and visually look more refined.

Some of the most notorious (and my favorite) modern fine artists work with a team behind them. Dale Chihuly, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, and Jeff Koons all utilize teams to make their big ideas reality. As I see it, that’s no different than a Creative Director having an idea and utilizing his/her team to create a final product.

I’d love to hear your opinions. Will advertising, design, and art evolve to become one discipline? What does the future hold for art, design, and advertising?

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