Creative Inspiration – Are You A Ferrari, or …?

As I get older, creativity becomes important.

For most of my life, I’ve done what I had to do, and also tried to honour my own inner truth… not always easy!

Now, there is a little voice perched on my left shoulder, saying, “Create or die!”

Creative inspiration comes from many different places … here is a piece that landed in my inbox from one of my favourite inspirational writers, Paula Scardamalia.

Creative inspiration from classic sports cars

Are You a Creative Classic, a Custom, a Sports, a…

Creative inspiration - ferrariThis past week, as Bob, Jason and I walked around Carmel photographing the many sports cars temporarily at curbside rest before auctions, races, and the Concours, I realized how quickly I was able to determine, if not the year, at least the make and style of varying sports cars, especially Ferraris which were plentiful this past weekend.

Even from inside my aunt’s home, I could determine when one of the very expensive sports cars drove down the street simply by its distinctive full-throated roar.

Seeing all these beautiful examples of engineering and design made me realize how boring most contemporary cars are… how hard it is to distinguish one maker from another or one style from another. A model by Toyota will look like one from Mazda which will look like one from Ford, etc. They seem to have lost personality in the process of becoming affordable and practical.

Which brings me to your creative work and mine. As we passed car after beautiful car, I learned four important lessons from them in regards to anyone doing creative work.

1. Do something to draw attention.

A Ferrari is not my kind of car, but one thing is undeniable, you can’t miss the deep rumble of its engine or its bright color — red, burnt orange, bright orange, sunny yellow. The Ferrari is not a shy car. It’s a car that says, “Look at me! (And my driver!)” Everyone who walked past a Ferrari at least turned his or her head to get a second look. Many people stopped to stare, walk around the car or take a picture.

How can you do the same with your work? I’m not saying you have to be garish, rude, or tasteless. But how can your work catch and hold your customer’s eye and emotions?

Creative inspiration-detail2. Choose elements that make your work distinctive.

With these classic cars, distinction is created by the curve of a fender, the shape of the grill or a finely sculpted hood ornament. You can’t miss the elegance of a Packard hood ornament or the Deusenberg’s curving chrome exhaust pipes or the wheel rims of the McClaren. What is distinctive about your work? What one or two elements act as a kind of signature of your work. When I was doing fine craft shows, one of the things that was distinctive about my handwoven rayon chenille scarves was my hand-tied fringe. That finish combined with my color combinations were easily distinguished by both wholesale and retail customer. Those elements made my work distinctive.

3. Appeal to the emotions.

Creative inspiration-duesenberg Most of the cars we saw this past weekend were not meant to appeal to someone’s logical, practical side.  These cars were meant to be emotional experiences … Sexy, dangerous, adventurous, elegant, accomplished, secure, unique, daring, conservative, stylish, powerful. People don’t buy these kinds of cars because they make sense. They buy them because when they drive these cars, they feel something. People won’t buy your creative work because it makes sense or even because they need it. They’ll buy it because they want it for the emotions they’ll feel using it, reading it, watching it, listening to it. And, chances are, if you put your heart into your work, then the emotion will be present for your clients and customers as well.

Creative inspiration-trunkbar4. What promise do you and your creative work make to your customer?

Ferrari’s promise is a fast, low-to-the-ground, powerful driving experience. Rolls Royce promises elegance, style and luxury.Rolls Royce promises elegance, style and luxury. An MGB promises fun and adventure. So what does your story or painting or service promise to your customer? And do you deliver on it? My scarves and other handwoven wearables promised luxury, durability and compliments. And they always delivered. In fact, I loved hearing how clients would wear those scarves to work or an event and inevitably receive compliments and even a few actual strokes from people who wanted to feel if the scarf was really as soft as it looked.

The designers and manufacturers of these classic cars were both artists and craftsmen, evoking a spell on the imaginations and hearts of drivers from decade to decade. And the lessons they offer creatives are valuable and inspiring.

So whether your creative work is classic, custom or sporty, remember to draw attention, be distinctive, appeal to the emotions, and make a promise that is uniquely yours to make.

And have fun doing it.

Brrrmmm, brrrmmm….


© Copyright 2009-2013 Paula Chaffee Scardamalia, all rights reserved.


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Mara Dall (46 Posts)

Mara Dall is a writer and traveller, exploring wild, magical places of the earth, of the mind, and of the soul. Read more about her here.