How it happens: strangely.
The thought, the grain, the precious seed of a creative idea – I can never come towards it via consecutive reasoning process. It works somewhere below the waters of subconscious, capriciously unresponsive to surface stimulation. In my first years as a designer it was making me nervous – every time I feared the moment will never come, I will remain barren, uselessly browsing someone else’s ideas, visuals and books. But then all of a sudden – it’d pop up like a fishing fly to the seawater. Now I just wait, try to concentrate on administrative and technical stuff, and wait and wait and deliberately distract myself; as long as I don’t put pressure, it comes on its free will.
The timing is random; more often than not it happens in the last minutes of morning dream, right before waking up- and it comes in a disguise, in those strange dream sequences when you know in your half-awake brain: there is an added significance to this or that personage or image, not related to the plot of the dream – and then suddenly, when you’re back to reality you just know the solution: aha, I will move the corridor to perimeter wall and add glass partition to the offices! That’s what that vague feeling of saffron-colored sunray moving along with my lover (in the dream) was about: the light-filled hallway next to windows!
Sometimes it comes too late – then the thing is to scribble it down quickly and archive for future use (NB! recessed bookcase to be surrounded by semi-recessed frame, 2″ off the wall! same frame profile as paintings on that wall!). Or too early, when I don’t know what possible use I can put it to. But I learned not to neglect it: scribble, scribble, you might need it later.
3 weeks ago, at a showroom launch party, someone whom I see at best twice a year, mentioned casually that his condo might need an interior designer to change finishes in their Art Deco lobby. I sent my short bio and handful of pictures of past projects and a letter of recommendation. I can’t even evaluate my chances of winning an opportunity for proposal, since I don’t know how many competitors I have; I deliberately did not go to see the building or the neighborhood so as not to be disappointed if I’ll not get the bid. I sent the package out and forgot about it. In a meanwhile, life have been going on – other projects, opportunities, relations, communications – like NCIDQ exam I had to conduct 1st time in my life.
Then yesterday, soaking my tired muscles in a tub after 15-hr exam day, thinking of nothing in particular (my mothers’ upcoming birthday… look for a new perfume for her…are there French fragrances with Lily-of-the-Valley, but subtle?) – boom, out of nowhere: Ceiling wallpaper to resemble Art Deco murals! It will shift perspective up, bring focal point of the whole incoherent lobby space to the stardust of center medallion. That’s the seed of the project!
In all my long years of practice, this handful of short moments of creative lightning are the biggest valuables. It’s the well, the creek, the source of my existence.
[See previous Notes here]