The Creative Spirit spans time. Periodically on Artist Strong I will showcase a creative from history. Working from the same kinds of questions, I will research and share how these creatives across history and geography may have answered our questions about creative process. I hope you enjoy today’s first Creative Spirit Showcase: Leonardo DaVinci.

Leonardo DaVinci is described today as the first ever Renaissance Man, a person known for his varied ideas, skills and understanding of the world around him. He was an inventor, sculptor, painter, and scientist. He is famous today for his painting Mona Lisa as well as The Last Supper.

Creative Spirit Showcase: Leonardo DaVinci

Possible Self-Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci

Carrie: How would you describe your work to Artist Strong readers?

My work spans many disciplines. I’m interested in design, in art, and in science.

Carrie:  If you could choose three words to describe yourself, what would you choose?

First and foremost I see myself as curious. I don’t feel beholden to social norms, I’m not sure rebellious is the correct word for that, I must think on a better word. Lastly, I’m persistent. I enjoy mulling over an idea and considering its many contexts.

Carrie: Where do you get ideas for content?

Much of my artwork is commissioned. Thus, the commissioner has a say in what I produce. As they are my patrons, I do my best to heed what they say with words and gesture. I wish to know their true desires and create them.

Carrie: How does collaboration help and/or hinder your art?

I’m not certain I can call my work my art. I create on behalf of my patrons. I am a channel for their ideas and interests. It is through collaboration that their ideas, as well as my ideas and skill, create a finished work. My commissioners sometimes grow impatient with me, as I spend a great deal of time planning and perfecting my work.

Creative Spirit Showcase: Leonardo DaVinci

The Vitruvian Man from DaVinci’s sketchbook

Carrie: Advice for people who are learning a new skill?

Find a way to participate in an apprenticeship. Learn from others with greater experience to develop your skill and knowledge. Dedicate time to your practice.

Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?

Perhaps not for polite company to discuss, I was born out of wedlock. Bastard children are treated as lessers, though my noble father cared for me. He helped me gain an apprenticeship with an artist by the name of Verrocchio. I learned make skills from this opportunity. With my hard work I was able to establish my own artist workshop by the age of 20. So, in fact, the nature of my birth may have led me to my success as an artist.

Carrie: What other projects are you working on at the moment?

I have a piece that brings me much pleasure, but I never feel is quite finished. In fact, I refuse to give it to the commissioner, I can’t bear to part with it until I know it’s complete. This woman and her smile… I must keep at it until I know it’s perfect.

Otherwise, I have a sketchbook I hold very dear to me. I fill the pages with meanderings, observations and ideas that are fantastical but I hope to realize someday. I never work on just one project at a time. This can bring my patrons great pain as I can take quite some time to finish any one project.

Creative Spirit Showcase: Leonardo DaVinci

The Last Supper by Leonardo DaVinci

Carrie: How do your interests outside of art fuel your artwork?

Everything is about art. All of my observations and ideas are accompanied by drawings. Art is a kind of knowledge and helps me to process the many ideas that I discover along the way.

Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?

My sketchbook is my everything. I need a place to document my thoughts and observations. I would lose many ideas if I didn’t take note of them!

Carrie: How do you define Creativity?

Creativity is the opportunity to explore ideas.

Art is a kind of knowledge and helps me to process the many ideas that I discover along the way. (Click to Tweet)

BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: How could you find an apprenticeship in your discipline? How can technology help us today? I want to know, tell me about it in the comments below.


Resources for today’s “interview:”