Expressing yourself creatively shows up in different ways for everyone. It may be a part of your job professionally, your home life, or a way to get you through a hard time, disconnect and destress. Maybe it manifests as ideas first thing in the morning, or when going for a run, or when playing with your children. Your next best idea could be one that stems from a random conversation, or a sight seen while out at dinner. Even listening to a song can give you that ‘aha!’ moment.
We believe we’re all creative and have stories to tell. This year, to recognize National Creativity Day — and everyday — we asked our community of creators just what self-expression is for them, how creativity shows up in their daily lives, and where they get their best ideas.
Veronica Peitong Chen, Experience Designer, Adobe
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, @blackxplate has been my creative outlet. The process of creating beautiful and delicious food shares so many similarities to how creativity could manifest itself. I would love to share my recipe for creativity.
Creativity can act as a main dish. It’s all about capturing new opportunities to create unique experiences. But creativity could also be the garnish — like tiny pieces that together that generate big impact. Creativity is the backdrop, which allows me to express ideas and beliefs in various mediums.
Lastly, creativity is the photo prop, which is all about solving problems and supporting solutions from different angles.”
Jonathan Chang, Designer and Illustrator
“I use art as my voice in activism to spread awareness on issues that are important to me. The last few years I’ve been doing portraits to center the victims of anti-Asian hate. The purpose is to tell the story of each individual, to honor and to remember them. In early 2022, a series of my portraits were displayed on two large billboards in Times Square, NYC. I’ve also used animations to fundraise for our community. When my animation of the Chinese grandmother (Xiao Zhen Xie) who fought back her attacker went viral last year, I designed a “F*CK AROUND AND FIND OUT” tee and fundraised over $76,000 for our community. There’s so much power in using art and design to enact positive social change.”
“Creativity to me is about breaking the barriers of stigma and the limits of our mind, upbringing and society and reaching beyond what’s known or familiar to find new ways of thinking and living. It allows us to open our minds to finding new solutions to problems that haven’t been solved and to create bridges that unite us in the most effective ways for the higher good of us all and our planet. It shows up as a path to finding solutions to personal or worldwide problems and the way of self-expression, self-liberation and the way to find light in the darkness and joy in the small moments.
Finding self and expressing the innate parts of ourselves that stay hidden. It’s about being seen and having our voice heard. For my autistic non-verbal brother Samko it is about having his voice heard loud through art and own ways of self-expression. It’s a communication of self in its unique way that is authentic and natural to us.”
“As an educator, creativity to me represents the highest level of learning. It encompasses creative problem-solving and a nonlinear and messy and sticky process of creating original ideas and/or work. Creativity is the foundation for disruptive innovation. To me, nothing is more important than fostering creativity in learning. This is one of the best ways to prepare young people for a constantly changing future. Creativity is what guarantees a young person to be future-ready and not be replaced by AI.
On my journey to disrupt the traditional education model, I embraced the phrase, “the master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house.” As such, I left the system completely and created a new model that prioritizes creation as opposed to memorization. Creation is what facilitates the flow of creativity and creative problem-solving. This process also encourages self-expression in all formats. Being self-expressive means that we see, understand, and honor who we are. It is the pinnacle of diversity, authenticity, creativity, and innovation. It is what I aim to help my students achieve and embody.”
Renee Yaseen, Founder, FriendOver
“To me, creativity is equal parts play and listening.
‘Creativity as play’ is an invitation to do creative things — draw, write, build, imagine — just because they’re fun. When we’re kids, we’re not afraid to play, to be curious, to do something “just to see what happens”. I think everyone, no matter their age, needs more of that.
My fascination with play motivated me to create an AR game called FriendOver for my younger brother Daniel and his friends. It was a fun challenge to design technology that promotes physical activity, verbal conversation, whimsy, silliness, and laughter in an online setting, all things I noticed were lacking from kid’s online play resources during the pandemic. FriendOver is a continuous work in progress, but it’s one that brings me and my team a lot of joy and satisfaction.
Self-expression is so powerful. It’s using your voice! When empowered to express ourselves in art, we can showcase all the aspects of who we are: our humor, our fears, our history, our loved ones, and our language.”
Carina Lindmeier, Designer and Illustrator
“Creativity is comparable to a journey with colors, shapes, structures or materials that I would like to invite people to join me on! Creativity opens up new insights, new ways of expressing oneself and communicating on a different level. With every step you take to create something, you change this world and offer it something new — it is my greatest motivation!
I find imagination and curiosity to be so important in the world of creativity, so always try to be open, be inspired and be curious — so that you can fully commit to the process. I am firmly convinced that everyone is creative.”
Eden Weinberg, Creative Marketing Manager, Bell + Ivy
“Creativity means freedom and confidence to me. Freedom to express the many elements of my spirit that I have come to love and the confidence to live fully in the choices I have made. Creativity is the lens through which I can express myself freely and how I choose to see the world mirrored back to me. The creative choices I make in how I live daily, the pretty pastels and loud neons in my wardrobe, the way I combine Middle Eastern and Thai spices in my cooking, the way I tell stories with one hundred tangents along the way, how I communicate my feelings to others, those are the ways I express my creativity. I am the most open version of myself through those expressions and feel the most trusting that my voice and all these facets of my character will be received in the most meaningful, direct, and uniquely “me” way.”
Abhijit Bhaduri, CEO Abhijit Bhaduri & Associates
Illustration by Abhijit Bhaduri.
“Creativity is really just solving problems in original ways. Try to feed something new to your senses every day. Watch a movie in a language you do not know. Try to solve the problems from one field with the ideas of another. Listen to podcasts, view TED talks and read white papers.”
Miri Rodriguez, Founder, Be Mindful, Be Happy
“I start my day with a meditation practice, welcoming genius and inspiration before my mind gets bogged down and distracted with everything else [life can throw at you]. I take cues from nature. I take time to feel the wind caress my face. I also give deep thought to mundane happenings around me such as how my morning coffee drips from the machine and into my cup. These moments of mindfulness often help spark a new idea or inform an inventive thought.
Everyday moments can become the very inspiration to creativity if we choose to engage our senses and deeply observe. This is why mindfulness has become such an essential part of who I am and what I do and this is also why I recently launched Be Mindful Be Happy, so I can inspire others to become more mindful. Did you know that mindfulness can actually change your brain structure and make you more creative? I hear a lot of people quickly branding themselves as “not creatives”. But we all are! To express ourselves in the best way is to gain back that childlike wonder and curiosity, to draw from that sparkle of artfulness and display our very talents without any inhibitions.
Cheryl Thuesday, Illustrator, RAS Illustration
“I find myself always paying attention to aesthetic details. Like walking around and seeing a gorgeous tree and thinking how vibrantly green it is or a store with a vintage sign. Or I could be at my mother’s house and see patterns in her rug and think about how I could use this in my work. My mind is always creating. It can be a gift and a curse.
Sharing your thoughts and feelings through any form that feels comfortable to you is self-expression. It could be words, music, art — anything that allows you to demonstrate who you are. When we allow ourselves to reveal what is dear to us, there is a vital release. That release allows us to be our authentic selves.”
Looking for more creative inspo? We all have a creative ‘type’ – and knowing yours will help you tap into your creative potential. Take the quiz and find out here.