Viewing a problem space differently leads to the proverbial ‘a-ha’ moment.  We’ve all been there.  But how can we get there more easily?  more consistently?

Problem finding and problem solving benefit from a shift in perspective.  Consider three ways the visual arts demonstrate the principle of consciously expanding perspective: 

Essential Lessons

1. Establish ways to explore multiple angles: Artists routinely employ various methods to adapt and augment their perspective.  In my own artmaking, I might use a colored filter to evaluate the value scale of a composition or turn a drawing upside down while in process.  Both of these techniques succeed in producing an alternate view of the work.  Creative outcomes, both within and outside the arts, are more likely to occur when we investigate the problem space from multiple angles.

2. Appreciate alternative points of view: Consider a group exhibit that features the work of many artists.  Very often such exhibits are curated with a single overarching theme, but each of the works models a different way of handling that theme or subject.  The variety evidenced among the works is demonstrative of the breadth of individual point of view.  Appreciating variety in this way teaches us to make space for additional points of view.  By developing an appetite for alternative perspectives we are internalizing a value that is central to problem solving and innovation.

3. Learn to apply abstraction: Even the most complicated painting or drawing is derived from only a handful of essential shapes.  Abstraction makes it possible to see and represent the similarity between disparate objects.  For example, through abstraction the visual properties of the human form bear resemblance to unrelated objects.  Similarly, abstract thought affords us the opportunity to see the parallel thread between disparate ideas. In this way, abstraction makes the connection between (seemingly!) unrelated ideas more accessible.

Making and appreciating art provides the territory to experience and model what it means to see anew.

© 2011 Kira Campo

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