This new short film from filmmaker Andrew Norton tackles the nebulous origins of inspiration. Does a good idea strike like a bolt of lightning, or does it emerge from a soup of random ingredients cooked at just the right temperature? In a series of brief interviews with writers, artists, kids, and other creatives including the likes of Chuck Close and Susan Orlean, we get personal perspectives on where the best ideas originate. If you liked this, also check out Norton’s previous film: How to Age Gracefully. Where Do Ideas Come From? was presented by Transom with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
Part film trailer, part home video, part testament to the power of unbridled creativity, this extended teaser gives us a glimpse into the unusual life of the Zenga Bros and their obsession with absurdly tall bicycles. Born and raised in Vancouver, the 6 brothers come from an eclectic family of 9 children who were taught from a young age to explore their own creativity, no matter where it lead them. This belief was embraced so thoroughly it became a lifestyle complete with a set of three intersecting tenets called the Three Beans: Create Everywhere, Redeem Everything, and Be a Fool.
The Zengas have engaged in community art projects since 1999, but the most notable has been the design and fabrication of tall bikes. They first encountered photos of similar bike designs in the late 90s in a zine and soon the boys were singularly obsessed with building their own unwieldy cycles. The bikes have connected them to makers from around the world, taken them on a trip across Africa, and will culminate in an upcoming tall bike tour and film currently in production by one of the brothers, Benny Zenga. The Zengas also produced a film last year with Booooooom titled Skate Heads that’s definitely worth a watch.
In the age of social media and the oversaturation of information, seeking recognition as an artist or designer can at times be a difficult, self-defeating effort. Creative individuals understandably have high expectations for the reception of their work, and hope for a public response that correlates with the labor spent on its production. In Adam Westbrook's new video essay we get a fantastic argument against the perceived value of modern popularity tied to social media likes and shares. Namely: the career of Vincent van Gogh.
Vincent van Gogh didn’t pick up a pencil with the intention of creating art until the age of 27, and the initial attempts weren’t particularly promising. Still, he persevered in the face of financial ruin, actual starvation, and crippling mental demons while sharing his paintings with an audience of exactly one: his brother Theo. Although his brother was rarely impressed, he continued to paint and create. Incredibly, it would be a full decade before Van Gogh sold his first painting or saw any sort of minimal success. Watch the video above to hear more about Van Gogh’s creative struggle along with some poignant thoughts about the creative process.
This is the third video essay in a series on creativity by Westbrook. See also The Long Game Part 1: Why Leonardo DaVinci Was No Genius and The Long Game Part 2: The Missing Chapter—also embedded below for quick viewing. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
In this brief profile by filmmaker Liam Saint Pierre, we dive head-first into the strange mind of British artist and inventor Dominic Wilcox who’s been entertaining the world for years with his delightfully impractical ideas. His recent off-the-wall inventions include a stained glass driverless car, shoes with built-in GPS that guide you back home, and a giant listening device called Binaudios that mimic tourist binoculars for the purpose of listening to a city. “Let’s do the ridiculous and by doing the ridiculous something else might come of it,” Wilcox shares in the film, perfectly encapsulating his entire artistic practice. He also just published a book filled with comic-like sketches of his most outlandish ideas, Variations on Normal, which is available on his website. (via It’s Nice That)
Driven by an obsession of how people record and recall memories, MCAD student Kirsten Camara designed the Analog Memory Desk, what could be the ultimate sketching surface. The desk has a built-in mechanism for scrolling 1,100 yards of butcher paper on rolls embedded in its legs, a sort of tablecloth of memory that records months or even years of random ideas, doodles, and coffee rings. The desk isn’t available for purchase, instead Camara released detailed blueprints through a Creative Commons license so you can build your own. (via Design Milk)
The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People cleverly organizes the daily schedules of famous artists, philosophers, writers, and composers as recorded in their own diaries and letters. Not only does it show how they switched gears between creating, sleeping, and leisure time, but the chart is fully interactive including quotes from each individual. I would love to see a version of this with modern creatives (and more women) as well. (via Coudal)
Update: The information used to create the infographic comes from the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey.