One of my favourite quotes by Thomas Edison is this one:
“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”
This was amply borne out by my very inventive attendees at last Tuesday’s Bad Art Night. They surpassed themselves, and I wanted to show you the astonishing results. Bad Art Nights attracts people from all walks of life, and this time there were a few engineers in the mix as well. As my Dad was an engineer, I have a few of those genes myself, and have found that Bad Art is one of the best ways I know to stop fiddling with tiny details and look at the bigger picture.
Fiddling with details is important for engineering, of course – I am obsessed with tailoring and love to spend hours measuring things in millimetres and making tiny, tiny stitches with fine silk thread and a needle barely one inch long - but you don’t want to apply that mindset to every area of your life!
For this exercise, I gave everyone a random noun and adjective, and the requisite “pile of junk”. Here are the photos, and the titles they had to inspire them:
You can easily replicate this idea for yourselves at home. I have boxes of cards with the nouns and adjectives written out on them so that we can pick the words out like a lucky dip, but you could just pick random words from a dictionary. Using the junk you have available, just start making the first thing that comes into your head. It’s very liberating.
Do it for joy, and keep creating!