With education and mastery comes familiarity and often times rigidity of thought about the way things work. To be clear, education on its own is valuable and necessary. Trouble is, that setting into familiarity and rigidity likely stems breakthrough creative ideas that result in important change.
Paula Scher, A graphic designer speaking at the Art Center Design Conference (2008), talks about the kind of important breakthrough creative ideas above. She calls it ‘serious play’.
“…serious play is about invention, change, rebellion, not perfection…”
On the subject of her early career and designs resulting from her hatred for Helvetica and the discovery of overseas fonts, she states:
“That kind of passion drove me into very serious play. A kind of play I could never do now because I’m too educated”
“The best way to accomplish serious design, which I think we all have the opportunity to do, is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job...”
“Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.”
“Simonton argues that youth benefit from their outsider status – they’re innocent and ignorant, which makes them more willing to embrace radical new ideas. Because they haven’t become encultured, or weighted down with too much conventional wisdom…”
Turns out continuing education and mastery may not be where creativity goes to die after all. That is, if we can be creative about keeping things fresh and be mindful about finding ways to keep our minds open.
Lehrer summarizes, “…Outsider creativity isn’t a phase of life – it’s a state of mind”