Sometimes the Best Reaction to Loss is Inspiration

Like a lot of people, I woke up yesterday to the news that the world had lost a creative, talented, innovator.

David Bowie (1947-2016) died two days after his 69th birthday. On his last birthday he released a new album, even though he’d been battling cancer for the last 18 months. That right there isĀ dedication to one’s craft. And, just like the rest of his career, this last album was a new path he forged, working with a jazz combo.

Tributes to Bowie’s life and work were all over yesterday. Space Oddity, Under Pressure, and anything from Labyrinth topped my friends’ mentions of him on Facebook, while I’m still partial to Peace on Earth (the counterpoint he wrote for the performance of Little Drummer Boy with Bing Crosby).

Regardless of our individual favorites, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Bowie would be proud if he were to influence any of us to keep working, keep innovating, and to keep trying new things.

In a bit of synchronicity, last week I finished reading Van Gogh: A Power Seething by Julian Bell. Unlike Boiwe, van Gogh didn’t set out to be an artist (he actually didn’t set out to be much of anything, at first, then he made several attempts to the clergy before finally trying out drawing). Of course, we know him as an artistic wonder, but that was only the last little bit of his life. In one of his letters to his brother, Theo, he wrote this about his emerging painting style.

Art as Shorthand

He wrote that at age 29 [which doesn’t seem like that late to find a career, to us, but keep in mind he died 8 years later, at 37, and the average life expectancy of men in the Netherlands when he was born was only 36.4(1)]. I found that particular line just so inspirational I did a post about it on my personal blog where it sparked creative prompts involving all five senses; you may be interested in reading it. (The Senses Project | Inspired by… Van Gogh).

I sign newsletters and design team posts with “wishing you creative days,” and it’s something I really mean. I hope you find a way to be creative each and every day, and that you never give up looking for opportunities to innovate and create.

(1) An Economic and Social History of the Netherlands, 1800-1920, Michael Wintle

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