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Jon Burgerman tells us how to train your creative brain

Ashleigh Allsopp | Sept. 9, 2013
Artist Jon Burgerman lets us in on the secrets to creativity, which include ditching your routine, turning off your computer and wearing colourful socks.

During your talk at Reasons to be Creative, you mentioned that you like to put yourself in situations that make you feel less like yourself. How do you do that?
JB: "I had a slide in my talk that said: "I don't want to be me, I want to be me."

"I thought it was a bit of a weird thing to say so I lost confidence and took it out. But now I'm telling you...

"So I'm not saying I want to be someone else -- I want to be you, I want to be him, I want to be David Beckham or Gareth Bale or someone else -- but I want to be a better version of me. I want to change how I am a little but I don't want to be anyone else. But I want to be able to do stuff that I can't already do or be better at stuff I can already do.

"I guess you can change your environment, move to a new place or go and work in a new studio, or go and sit somewhere different to work.

"Dress smartly for work, dress not smartly for work. You know, shake up your routine. Routine is the killer, I think, because of what happens when you slip into a routine. Some routines are useful but generally, creatively you get lazy and you're not really making challenging decisions anymore you're just going: "I know what to do."

"Your brain wants to do that, your brain enjoys familiarity so you have to sort of push yourself. That's why it's very good going on holiday because you're like: 'I'm in a new place. Where are we going to go today? What are we going to eat? That smells great. This food's great. That's horrible. Look at that building.'

"You're alert to so many new things around you. Your brain is fizzing and buzzing and it's exciting, even if the place isn't very nice it's a new experience. So we have to try and inject that into our day-to-day lives I think.

"Even wearing stupid socks could be helpful."

Is that part of why you decided to move to New York?
JB: "The reason I could move is that I could live anywhere. I draw and I travel and drawings you can send anywhere and you can kind of travel anywhere so it's not really that relevant where I live. So I thought it would be interesting in my life to live somewhere else.

"When you go on holiday and you see new stuff. I thought, going to New York, it could be like a very long holiday. A long expensive holiday that never ends, or it doesn't end for a few years.


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