Imagination for sale?

Today I’m thinking about what it means exactly to be a Creator.

While much of my professional career has been focused on the particular craft of Lighting Design, the more I ponder over the full body of my work the more I lean into a greater idea – Creation. Yes, I’ve designed many theatrical performances, I’ve been a creative force behind a genre of seasonal events, and I’ve done my fair share of drawing lights on plans over the past 25 years. I am grateful for all of those experiences and all of them have shaped my work, but I am aware that my ability to create is not limited to lighting and so I have been searching for a more complete understanding. Aside from my work in lighting, I have created many artistic and pragmatic works through the years. I’ve written music, created furniture, and built a company. For me all of these things walk a similar path.

If I may muse for just a moment – I think that creation is comprised of several intertwined phases.

  • Inspiration. The very first part of the process must be something that inspires you to action. Perhaps a specific challenge or problem, or it may be another complimentary work of art. Countless sources abound, but the one thing that must come first is that genesis of the idea.
  • Design. This is the wheel set into motion. Research, examination, trial and error – design is the process of refinement, the time when rough ideas are sculpted into something tangible.
  • Manifestation. You have to make it real. Ideas are wonderful. Design plans can be inspirational. But if you want to create, you have to manifest that thing you thought up – for real.
  • Reflection. You did it. After the handshakes and the kudos, after the trucks all drive away, and once the world returns to a momentary calm you must do the final thing that sums up the act of creation. This part is probably the most work of them all. It requires you to step outside the work, assess the entire process, and learn from it. This final step is the payoff from the whole process. Sure, you probably got paid for the work you created, but that is not where the value comes from. The value is in learning from this most recent creation so that you can create something greater than it next time.

I am humbled by my path in this life. To have created anything of value even once would be a satisfaction. To have the opportunity to create in perpetuity is a blessing beyond measure. By no means do I consider myself to be anything more than a single human on the planet playing a role in a very large play. But whenever I get the chance to create something new to this world I hope that i have done my best to make the most of it.