Red crayons & White paper

BRIAN ENO’s anecdote about creativity

The great ambient/performance artists Brian Eno is famous for his ability to help prominent musicians like U2, the Talking Heads, David Bowie and Paul Simon become more creative when he produces their records.He was once asked by a journalist if he ever woke up in the morning of an important session with someone famous, thinking,  “oh, no,  I just don’t feel very creative today.”To the surprise of the reporter, Eno said,  “No”.

“Not ever”, continued the journalist, incredulously.

“No”

“How could that be?”  asked the reporter.

“Well,”  Eno answered, ” if you took every single person on this planet who could comply with your wishes (whether they were young or old, man or woman, intelligent or developmentally disabled) and gave them a piece of paper and a red crayon and asked them to draw you a picture of a house and a tree they would produce 3 or 4 billion drawings of a house and a tree.

Not one of those drawings would be the same.  Every one would be unique.

And yet, a house and a tree are not made of red wax and white cellulose, so each unique drawing would be the result of that person filtering their vision of a house and a tree through their ‘vision’ of it using whatever technique (or lack of technique) they have and then creating an analogue of that vision on the piece of paper.Each person, consequently,  would have CREATED something totally unique with their  drawing.He continued “Human beings don’t have to worry about whether they are creative or original………………..they just have to DO.’

please note, this is a paraphrase of this quotation repeated by someone who had heard Eno say it in a lecture. I wasn’t there, so the retelling may be a tad inaccurate  but the spirit remains the same…….Rick Walker