Curiosity is a powerful tool, and one that has served me well both in my life and my work. But sometimes curiosity can get the better of you. While it can serve as the catalyst for great discovery, it can also dismantle a brilliant idea in minutes, as it drives you to to pursue other thoughts.
I admire the ability to behold an idea, and nurture it. My story starts at the end, and involves two great artists. First Alexander Calder, a noted American artist famous for his “mobiles” wire sculptures (Image 3), and other large scale on-site sculptures like the “Flamingo” in the Federal Plaza in Chicago (Image 3a). The other day I noticed that this sculpture is currently under construction, completely wrapped and covered (Image 4).
Seeing this reminded me of another artist, a couple known as Christo & Jeanne-Claude (Image 1). They were famous for their installation art involving curtain walls and wrapped buildings, as well as projects never realized, such as their “Wrapped Monuments” (Image 2).
Upon seeing and recalling the wrapped Calder piece, I came to realize that the difference between great artists and a lot of others is the ability to stay curious, to always look under the curtain, but to know when you’ve happened upon a great idea and to see it through to its multitude of ends. Once you’ve found the voice of an idea, if you stick with it you can make a good idea great. And if you can ignore distractive curiosity, you can make a great idea better. Even worthy of being covered up.