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TLO Recommends: Creativity Inspo    

TLO Recommends: Creativity Inspo

Art by FISK

Even the most creative people need inspiration. Jean-Michel Basquiat pulled from sources as diverse as the Bible and cartoons. Basquiat himself has served as inspiration for artists, in multiple mediums, including Jay Z. And Jay Z, in turn, has been a reference for countless others. And on and on it goes.

When it comes to creativity, our Word of the Month, freedom and imagination play an important role. But so do the laws of cause and effect. Regardless of their field, when people pursue creative endeavors, they do so in some degree as a reaction to a stimulus. That stimulus may be a piece of music that touches an emotion and leads to a novel. It may be a scene in nature that a chef tries to capture in a dish. It may be an act of injustice that a protest movement rises up to counter. Whatever the case, the effect (the creative work) is precipitated by a cause (the inspiration).

That applies to the work we do on The Local Optimist, too, which is why we wanted to share some of the sources of our creative inspiration in a new series we call TLO Recommends. We asked the folks who work on The Local Optimist to reveal their go-to’s when they need a spark of inspo.

Hopefully this sparks something for you. And if you have other sources you love, be sure to mention them in the comments below.

Movie: Princess Mononoke

“To me, there are few things more creative than the worlds that Studio Ghibli (and more specifically Hayao Miyazaki) create. The humanity, the spirituality, the craftsmanship. Extremely thankful that these films are now much more accessible and live on HBO Max. This pick could have easily been a number of their films. Just promise me you won’t watch the dubbed versions unless you are a child who can’t read.“ — Mason Spector, Co-Founder

Video Series: Nowness’ In Residence

In Residence is a series that showcases the architecture and interior design of creatives’ homes around the world. It has absolutely nothing to do with my career, nor any creative endeavors I could be learning about to help my career. It simply fulfills a passion and superfluous love of mine. The videos themselves are works of art,  from the cinematography to the choice of music. I find that each time I’m in a rut, these videos inspire me to create an environment around me that prompts inspiration, motivation, and creativity.” — Meadow Monaghan, Mental Health Lead

Book: Creativity, Inc.

“Creativity, Inc. provides an intimate look at the team and creative process behind Pixar. I think it’s always fascinating to learn about groups of people who can sustain creativity over a long period of time. By creating a culture that embraces risk-taking and big ideas, Pixar’s made award-winning films for almost 40 years. There’s definitely some magic in that.” — Alex Brands, Head of Brand Marketing

Book: Draft No. 4: On The Writing Process

“One of the things that bugs me about many discussions about creativity is how loosey-goosey they feel. I completely agree that being open and aware is crucial for creative inspiration. I also believe that translating that inspiration onto the page, canvas, or whatever requires tremendous amounts of discipline and structure. As a staff writer at The New Yorker and a writing instructor at Princeton, John McPhee is an incredible chronicler of the process and organization required to write. Draft No. 4 is a deep dive into how the structure of writing can be as creative as the subject itself. It goes beyond the cliches and gets into the nuts and bolts of writing is part instruction manual, part memoir, and entirely entertaining.” — Justin Tejada, Editor

Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel 

“This movie truly makes me want to think outside of the box. The plot is unlike anything I have ever seen before. The vibrant colors and beauty in each scene evoke various moods and emotions throughout the film. I also love the complex narrative because it requires a lot of active thinking. As someone who loves to design and create things in my free time, I can always count on this movie for some inspiration.” —Hallie Sheinbaum, Project Manager

TV Series: Maniac

“This show really sparked my creativity simply because of the way it made me think. I love a good TV show that I can just watch and enjoy, but when I actively have to put pieces of the puzzle together, it makes it that much better. The colors, sets, and timeline all played into the odd but satisfying game of figuring out the human brain and why it does the things it does. I hope they run a new season because it's already been two years since this amazing show came out.” — Andrew Wetmore, Designer

Keep the conversation going by commenting on this story below. You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.