Paul Ingram – Creativity and networks

In this conversation Paul Ingram describes the artist network as a “highway system of knowledge where ideas can flow” and “a structure of creativity and communication” (Ingram, 2102, MoMA video). He reflects that when artists connect from different worlds there is great potential for innovation. The graphic design team at MoMA when preparing for the Inventing Abstraction 1919 – 1925 exhibition developed an artist network diagram (image below) for this period of time. This diagram is significant in that it provides a visual representation of the relationships between the artists locally and globally as abstraction developed internationally.   Ingram, the Kravis Professor Business at Colombia Business School offers the insight that artists that are able to embrace diversity and are broad in interests, where their engagement spans countries, languages and continents are the ones who produce the most innovative work. He further explains that he believes it is important for artists to have two different networks; one in which to develop the ideas, (this network provides access to ideas that are different to the network in which you work, and is the broader network), and another closer network of trusted artist friends and colleagues, (this is the place where the ideas are developed and the work produced).

He offered the Bauhaus as a great example of a place of creativity and innovation; one where artists worked and lived together drawing inspiration from both local and global sources.

This talk has inspired me because it has underlined and reiterated three things; the importance of developing broad interests, the need to continue to research artists globally, and thirdly to embrace diversity.   These factors according to Ingram’s insights, will enrich and inform my own work in new ways.


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