Natalie Smithson surreal AI art on creativity - blue whale in a box with pencils

Creating from nothing

You’d think a big idea would need a massive flame of self-belief to fire it into the world, wouldn’t you?

Turns out, you only need a flicker of hope.

Your idea might seem far-fetched, but when it’s lodged in your gut like a pebble, all you really need to hear is that someone else once had that same feeling, because if they can do it, so too can you.

Knowing what’s possible

I’ve got a pretty firm idea now of what my immersive exhibition will be, and as I start to think about building some of the features, I look around in a panic thinking ‘how the hell do I do it?’

There isn’t a blueprint or a template or a guide I can use. This idea is coming straight from the fire in my own belly.

  • How do I hide light?
  • How do I make light appear?
  • How do I hide light and make it appear on demand?

I’ve no idea, so I did some research.

I started following people who inspire me and I’m figuring it out.

Then out of nowhere comes the House of Eternal Return. An eerie, interactive exhibit from the art collective, Meow Wolf. This whacky group of self-professed “outsiders” took a disused bowling alley in Santa Fe and turned it into a fictional home that’s haunted by the mystery of a disappeared family. A kettle has just boiled in the kitchen as steam escapes from the spout, yet the Seligs are no longer there.

Visitors are encouraged to wander through different worlds and portals inside the house, hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened. It’s a murder mystery escape room come art installation masterpiece.

There ain’t no playbook for that.

That’s straight out of the depths of an imagination run wild.

So how did they turn their dream into a reality?

The House of Eternal Return, Meow Wolf

Generous to share

“We never had enough time and we never had enough money, but we had some incredibly creative people,” said Meow Wolf’s Senior Creative Director, Chadney Everett.

And that was really all I needed to hear.

Life isn’t a level playing field. We all have barriers in our way ― far off obstacles that might cause an obstruction as well as blatant, screaming diversions right up in your face.

I’ve been reading lots of stories lately (and come to think of it, always have) of people overcoming incredible things to pursue a destiny. A product. A lifestyle. A creative outlet, like mine.

It takes grit and perseverance and hard times will try to topple you, but there are endless stories of people who made it ― like Meow Wolf. After years of struggle. Creativity and self-belief can get you there.

For me, right now, all I need to focus on is the uncomfortable feeling in my gut that won’t go away until I make this thing happen.

Passion shouldn’t be ignored. It’s the most beautiful thing when it comes to life, so keep on sharing your stories, and I’ll keep on sharing mine. You just never know who it might help.

Image created using Midjourney

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