Spring 2012

Credits: 2
Time: M 2:10 – 6pm

Course Description:

This is a course about the development of creative ideas. Once you have the beginnings of an idea, how do you fine-tune, revise and develop it into a strong creative work? How do you choose the best medium to realize your ideas? We will look at art historical examples and examine the creative process from many different individual perspectives and media.

This course is well suited to students enrolled in any projects level course within the Visual Arts.


Active student participation throughout all aspects of this course will make your experience much more meaningful and is necessary for the successful completion of the assigned work. There are reading/research assignments, weekly discussions, and student presentations during this course. Students are expected to be present for all class meetings. Please email me if you must miss a class. Chronic lateness and/or more than 2 absences will seriously jeopardize your standing in this course.

Students will be evaluated based on the following: Participation/attitude, creative/conceptual work, documentation of work/journals and progress over the term.

I would like you to commit to the following this semester:

  1. That you will be respectful of both your peers and my time and efforts with your own: that you will work your hardest, be self-motivated, learn through trial and failure and share what you learn and/or know freely with all.
  2. Push yourself beyond the bounds of your comfort zone and be brave, adventurous and surprising.


All students are required to maintain a journal (book) for this class. This space should contain all of your ideas (good/bad, drafts/sketches etc.). If you want to sketch digitally, print out your work and add to your book. Journals are to be frequently updated (daily+).

Each week you will scan at least 2 pages of your journal and upload to your wikipage.

Journals will be handed in at the end of class and will be available for you to pickup prior to the end of the term.


All students are required to maintain a personal wiki site for this class. This space is to contain weekly assignments (scans of select journal pages) and summaries of all the class readings (must be posted by Sunday night at midnight). Individual pages are to be updated regularly (weekly).

Each student is responsible for viewing and commenting on all student pages (this will count towards class participation).

Over the course of the term you should create an annotated list of links to artists and artworks that you find compelling or are influencing your ideas (this should be updated each week). Links to other readings or topics you are looking at should also be present.

>> Late work is not accepted!<<

Office hours:

I am available to meet with you during office hours and other times. If you would like to schedule a time to meet, please email me–do not leave voice mail! I am readily available via email and will regularly respond within a few hours.


There are no required books that need to be purchased for this class. All readings will be handed out or can be found online.

This schedule is a guide and will change over the course of the term, check back often.

Session 1: February 27

Introduction to the course.
Where do we get our ideas?

Session 2: March 5

Discuss reading.


The Eureka Hunt: Why do good ideas come to us when they do?
By Jonah Lehrer, The New Yorker, July 28, 2008.

Linda Weintraub, from In the Making: Creative Options for Contemporary Art: Sourcing Inspiration, pages 122-124 and External Sources of Inspiration: Apartheid and Redemption, William Kentridge pages 156-164 and Internal Sources of Inspiration: Imagination–Inspiring Inspiration, Julian LaVerdiere, pages 142-149


Two ideas.

Session 3: March 12

Discuss readings.


Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstasy of Influence, Harpers, February, 2007.

Michael Michalko, from Cracking Creativity, pages 1-14 and 42-50.

Mark McGuiness, Is Lateral Thinking Necessary for Creativity.


Another point of view.

Session 4: March 19

Discuss reading.


Michael Michalko, from Cracking Creativity, pages 51-80.


Map your 2 ideas.
Define your process in writing, map it. (post to wiki)

Session 5: March 26

Discuss readings.


Ian Jackman (editor), from The Artist’s Mentor, pages 179-210.

Carol Lloyd, from Creating a Life Worth Living, pages 64-83.


Revise process articulation and map (include information from readings).
Continue idea development.

Session 6: April 2

Student presentations.

Session 7: April 9

Student presentations.
Final class. (All work from the term must be complete.)