Ideas live at the intersection of experience, process and intuition.
They come sometimes from concerted effort and other times they are the fruit of sub-conscious cogitation. Sometimes they are invited and occasionally, they will find us at random, serendipitously.
We are a sum total of our experiences, and it is these experiences that form the basis of our creative psyche and the touchstone of our imagination and inspiration. Thus, the more we engage with the world, the better we’re able to inform our creative efforts. Experience, for me, is synonymous with exposure and the notion of inspiration — books we’ve read, shows we’ve seen, places we’ve been, etc. — these all become me and they fuel my desire to either emulate immediately or file away for another time. As Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal”.
Process prepares us academically and it equips us with the tools to develop our ideas with rigor as we craft larger narratives to serve the needs of an assignment. Process is informed by our experiences and it acts in service of our intuition. And, perhaps most importantly, process is there for us when we need to put the paddles to a job when “it just isn’t coming to me”. As Louis Pasteur said, “chance favors only the prepared mind.”
Intuition, then, is our “chance”, our creative third-eye, shaped by experience and born of that special something that came down genetically from our ancestors (especially your esoteric — but harmless — uncle Henry, the guy with a lazy eye who talked a little too loud and who was always reading and tinkering in the garage/basement/backyard but who “got” you and even helped you build that spaceship on top of dad’s car). It’s the fertile ground where your vision and imagination fornicate, allowed to run free, unfettered and non-sensical in their being, often like a dream. Alternatively referred to as an instinct, your gut, or a sixth sense, we often cultivate and nurture our intuition with a variety of stimulants and depressants as we seek to enter “the zone” in search of our happy place and the elusive unicorn of an idea.