“Imagine” is the most powerful word I know aside from the word “love.” It’s essential to artmaking and the process by which we conceive ideas for our work. Webster’s defines imagine as the ability to form a mental image of something that is not present or that is not the case.
Joseph Joubert once stated that “Imagination is the eye of the soul.”
Muhammad Ali said “The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
and, Napoleon Bonaparte felt that “Imagination rules the world.”
The power of imagination cannot be overstated. For artists, it’s our greatest and most essential asset. So, I’m wondering why we often choose to underutilize this asset. Here are a few self-imposed reasons:
1. Inhibitions and fears
2. Biases and prejudices
3. Lack of confidence in one’s own imagination (which leads to conformity and imitation)
4. Unwillingness to expand one’s horizons to learn about more possibilities
5. No sense of adventure
Perhaps you can add to this list.
Since childhood I’ve indulged my daydreams. I think they deserve lots of my time although only a small fraction of my imaginings become works of art. But, being a daydreamer as a child was difficult. Teachers, and sometimes parents, scolded us children to stop daydreaming and pay attention; to "get our heads out of the clouds." It’s as though society conspired to beat the imagination out of its children so that we would all think alike and “behave.” We grew up to become unimaginative adults and then face the confusing task of contributing to “think tanks” when we enter the work force. “Think outside the box” is our mantra. Well, who built the box and put our imaginations into it??
Where is the key to unlocking this box? We’ve had it in our hands all along. As adults, we control how much or little we use our imaginations and our art reflects our choice. My persoanl fault is in allowing inhibitions to interfere and that’s something I’ll continue to work at.
Our old friend, Anonymous, once said that imagination is intelligence having fun. Are you having fun?