Empty Frames

Today we found ourselves once again in a museum. This time it was the National Gallery. It has a large collection of paintings from the 13th to the 19th century.

As I wandered, I walked past a room that displayed nothing but frames with no paintings inside. At first I laughed thinking, “That’s stupid, why should I even care about just the frames?” But then the bizarre thought of sitting in a room full of painting-less paintings got the best of my curiosity and I decided to sit there for a while to do my daily observation.

As I looked around the room I first ignored the frames and focused only on the emptiness within. It made me think about the potential of a blank canvas. I imagined what the artist might feel as he prepared to fill the void with a new masterpiece.

Then I shifted my focus to the frames. I realized that frames around paintings and pictures can often have a strong influence on the way we actually experience the images within. However, the frames themselves, at least for me, almost always go unnoticed.

Then I began to think about how we use frames every day, not as physical objects, but rather as a mental lens through which we view the world around us. In this sense a frame is our perspective. It can change the way we view the ideas, feelings, and experiences in our lives in the same way that the physical frames can influence our perception of a painting.

Many times in life I can start to feel like I’m in a rut and I’ve realized that this happens when I’ve been looking at things through the same frame for too long. That’s why I think it is very important whenever I am feeling stuck to change the frame I’m using. I find that if I can gain a new perspective on a problem I’m much more likely to come up with a creative solution.

There are many different ways to gain a new perspective. I think the simplest way in general is to have new experiences. A new experience can be something as simple as talking to someone you’ve never met before to going to another country to study abroad.

This connects to what our guest speaker, Joe Videan, was saying in class today, that it is very important to have lots of experiences because these experiences are what we draw from when the need to be creative presents itself.

He also said that inspiration does not exactly come as a strike of lightning. I agree with this because I think in order to be inspired it’s often necessary to first have many new experiences which will fill your brain up with new thoughts and ideas at which point a single event can trigger an a-ha moment that transforms these ideas in into something completely new.

Being in London has certainly given me a new frame through which to view the world. I also hope to gain many more experiences while I’m here so that I can increase the likelihood of having some kind of inspirational a-ha moment. Once the inspiration is there I believe the creativity flows naturally because that is when you are intrinsically motivated. That’s when you get in the zone.

Auto Zone.

Sorry…bad joke.

You can visit Joe’s website at http://www.joevidean.net/

Article by Mike Brichta

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