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Aphorism 17 / Self / Thinking Outside the Box

You can’t think outside the box until you understand the inside of the box.  For instance, a painter must know how to paint a person proportionately, depict depth, know how to shade, etc. before he can get away with distorting his work, or doing something in the abstract.  If it weren’t this way then I could go and paint a few squares in one corner of a canvas and place a splotch of blue, green, and orange in another corner…then call it art.  But, it’s not.  I don’t sufficiently understand (nor can I depict) shade, form, line, pattern, etc.  So, my work isn’t art even if it looks similar to that of a real artists work.  He purposely violated the rules that he understood about art.  I just threw some shit on a canvas.

The same with architecture.  An architect can design a building to be wonky and structurally sound on purpose only after he understands the rules of architecture.  He tries to “think outside the box” by stretching the rules that he understands.  I can’t build a stable and wonky tree house and say I was “thinking outside the box.”  I’m just lucky if my tree house doesn’t kill anyone.

So, expertise plays a role in thinking outside the box.  Creative people still must study a craft to matter in the world.


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