In the seventies I used to play a unique form of chess with a friend. I was a good player and he was a relative beginner, so I would talk him though his moves; and mine. We looked at all the possibilities each move created and we were often discussing the consequences of a certain move 5 or 6 imagined moves later. Our friends,watching us, would often leave the room shaking their heads, such was the nerdiness of our discussion. (Thank God for recreational drugs). After my friend got pretty good, we continued to play that way, there were no “traps” or “surprise” moves, we played a logical game and would often reverse the board and play the opponents pieces if one of us thought we had a better solution to the puzzle. We thought of each game as a story with a million variables, each move was its own plot twist.

I view Creativity the same way, when we approach it with the curiosity of someone solving a problem we often produce our best work. Sure, sometimes we need to vent and slap paint on the canvas or write an angry rant. Emotion often helps us produce our best stuff. Yet; I’ve found that, seeing where a character ends up, what looks best when we start painting or seeing where our research leads us is therapeutic and fun.

A large part of creativity is problem solving. You begin by asking “why” or, even better, “Why not?” Sometimes, when you don’t feel particularly inspired, work with a question in mind, let your art solve a problem, you might be surprised where the moves lead you.

Checkmate.

(And if this video didn’t get your attention, I suggest stronger coffee)

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