AUSTIN—It’s a gray Monday morning in Bat City. My commute to downtown is easy and free parking is available on the east side of I-35.
I walk to Rainey Street, where Bose, the country of Australia, and other big brands are temporarily encamped between the permanent food trucks. I am here to visit the Comcast NBCUniversal House in order to attend a panel sponsored by Bluprint, called “Creativity Today: When Did Happiness Become A Chore?”
The panel is moderated by Sarah Unger, Senior Vice President, Cultural Insights & Strategy at Civic Entertainment Group in Los Angeles. The panel features academic and consultant, Mark Runco of Southern Oregon University, plus Mondo Guerra from Project Runway fame, and Danielle Wilkie, SVP of Marketing at
Wilkie says, “the process itself is joy,” more so than any particular outcomes of actively pursuing a creative end. Guerra says, “perfection brings me joy.” Runco says there’s a difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, and that most creative people and driven by the latter.
From where I am sitting, it’s difficult to hear the panelists speak even though they are amplified. The talk is happening in the middle of other interactive exhibits and an open bar. It’s before noon, but free drinks are free drinks and people are not buying them.
Runco is the most compelling speaker to my ear and I strain to hear him out. He says expertise is funny. It allows one to think quickly in an almost automated way, which is an advantage but also a danger because by doing so one may miss out on nuance.
Runco says great artists disrupt themselves, so they don’t get stuck or become rigid with age and repetition. He says even when artists like Picasso and Dylan are successful and being rewarded by the marketplace for their work, they must find a way to challenge and refresh themselves.
After the panel wraps, I walk over to Bluprint’s interactive mural, still inside the Comcast NBCUniversal House. People are attracted to it like bees to a colorful flower. A handful of people find a paintbrush and add something new to the Amy Tangerine-made canvas.
Minutes ago, Guerra encouraged people to be free to share their ideas. Here in this space at this time, the idea has supporters.
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