posted by Ian Summers on February 14th, 2007

A Selection from
1001 Quotes Questions & Pondering
about the Creative Process

The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.
Albert Einstein

In what ways do you encourage your mind to stop judging? When were you surprised by solutions coming from a source unknown to you?

An artist is someone who produces things that people don’t need to have but that he – for some reason – thinks it would
be a good idea to give them.
Andy Warhol

In what ways is art needed or desired?

Boldness has genius, power and magic. Engage, and the mind grows heated. Begin, and the work will be completed.

Do you approach your creating boldly? When has genius, power and magic heated your mind?

… the very question of whether photography is or is not an art is essentially a misleading one. Although photography generates works that can be called art – it requires subjectivity, it can lie, it gives aesthetic pleasure – photography is not, to begin with, an art form at all. Like language, it is a medium in which works of art (among other things) are made. Out of language, one can make scientific discourse, bureaucratic memoranda, love letters, grocery lists, and Balzac’s Paris. Out of photography, one can make passport pictures, weather photographs, pornographic pictures, X-rays, wedding pictures, and Atget’s Paris. Photography is not an art like, say, painting and poetry. Although the activities of some photographers conform to the traditional notion of a fine art, the activity of exceptionally talented individuals producing discrete objects that have value in themselves, from the beginning photography has also lent itself to that notion of art which says that art is obsolete. The power of photography – and its centrality in present aesthetic concerns – is that it confirms both ideas of art. But the way in which photography renders art obsolete is, in the long run, stronger.
Susan Sontag

Is photography a medium or an art form or both to you?

It is in the world of slow-time that truth and art are found.
Norman Maclean

How can you slow down to move forward?

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.
Mark Twain

Substitute photography, painting, poem or any other creative medium for ‘word’.


We’re creators by permission, by grace as it were. No one creates alone, of and by himself. An artist is an instrument that registers something already existent, something which belongs to the whole world, and which, if he is an artist, he is compelled to give back to the world.
Henry Miller

What are you compelled to give back to the world?


All behavior consists of opposites… Learn to see things backward, inside out, and upside down.

Select a creative problem you have been working on. Make a list of all the truths you know about it. Then make a list of the opposites of all the truths. In what ways does thinking contrary help you to see things differently?

We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot

How is this like the Fool’s journey? Study the Tarot.


The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.
Saul Steinberg

Are you bored? How does boredom affect your creativity?

For 991 more Idea Stimulators like these, ask for your free copy of 1001 Quotes Questions & Pondering. This e-book will be sent to you as a PDF file. I hope you find it interesting, informative, and inspiring.

posted by Ian Summers on February 8th, 2007

Exquisite Corpse

The original Surrealist idea combined preoccupation with chance, fragments, collage, with forms which emerge out of chaos, with serious play. Participants contributed to a poem or painting without knowing what their collaborators had done. The first player would write a word or draw a picture on a piece of paper folded over to hide what had been done, then hand the paper over to the next player. One of the earliest games resulted in the sentence, “Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau. (The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine.)”

Surrealists like Breton, Tanguy, Miro, Man Ray, Duchamp, Dali and others produced exquisite corpse drawings too — one artist did the head, the next the torso, and the next the legs and feet. A 1994 revival at New York’s Drawing Center in Soho invited 1,200 artists to produce 600 drawings.

In what ways can you turn the concept of Exquisite Corpse into your own creative project? We created a similar project in several of my teleconferences. It was a kind of exploration of the graphic novel. A photographer contributed an image as the opening page of a story and passed the image to another in the group. The next photographer took the story in his or her direction based upon the stimuli provided by the first photographer. This continued until all contributed and the story reached a conclusion.

posted by Ian Summers on February 1st, 2007

Believe it or not, Clark Kent asked Lois Lane out on a date in the debut issue of Superman in Action Comics #1 (1938) Lois accepted, but was far from enthusiastic. Was she holding out for a hero?

Clark Kent definitely did not turn out to be the hero Lois was holding out for. He not only didn’t stand up for his date, he expected her to dance with a man she didn’t want to dance with. Lois is forced to take matters into her own hands literally by slapping the aggressive suitor as Clark cowers. The bully attacked Clark instead of Lois. And that coward, Clark let him.

Lois Lane

Though Lois had every right to be angry, readers sympathized with Clark since they were “in on the joke”. Lois would have to wait another 50 years. Lois summed up Clark’s lack of appeal nicely. However, this has been an eccentricity of the comics from the beginning. Clark seemed to desperately want Lois to love him and yet he presented himself as not only a lie, but a singularly unattractive lie as well. Admittedly Lois Lane was no real prize in the beginning either. The difference, of course, is that Lois was not pretending to be anyone else and expecting to be loved for that “secret identity”.

Who did not stick up for you in your life? Was there a time when you might have defended someone and did not? Or have you ever assumed a secret identity? Have you ever participated in a chat room with a different name?


March 1944
How to Date a Superhero

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