I always get a healthy dose of inspiration from The Ad Club‘s annual Edge Conference. This year’s came from Phil Hansen.
In keeping with the program’s “disruption” theme, Phil wasn’t even on the agenda. He burst upon the stage to deliver a surprising talk about seizing the shake. Finding a well spring of ideas and creativity in the most unlikely places — within your own limitations.
Here’s the background. When Phil was in art school he developed an uncontrolable shake in his painting hand from poinillism. His first thought was that this is the destruction of his dream of becoming an artist.
After a few weeks a neurologist told him to embrace the shake. The work starting flowing. He began experimenting with other ways to fragment images, using unconventional materials like dandelion puffs, live worms, and hamburger grease; as well as canvases like Starbucks cups, bananas, and his torso. He dipped his feet in paint and walked on fabric. He used karate chops to attack the canvas. He built an image of Jimi Hendrix with 7,000 matches.
Embracing the shake for Phil was about much more than art. It was about life. It was about looking at limitations as a source of creativity.
Carpe diem. Sieze the shake.
Phil Hansen’s TED talk can be found here or below.