Monday, July 28, 2008

Jeweler by Night

Flourish of Gold exhibit with my work in the foreground

Right now, I am just getting over my adrenaline depletion. I managed to get the work for the Kohler Center show to the Manhattan UPS depot just 10 minutes before closing. This is not an unusual circumstance to find myself in, despite my attempts to have my creativity come in normal daytime working hours. Before big shows, no matter what I do, I always end up staying up all night. I didn't actually work through the night this time, but I did keep pushing quitting time to 9, 10, midnight, then finally 2 AM. I seem to have breakthroughs at that time, and after reading this article in the New Yorker, I was able to see that there have been studies done in the field of brain science regarding this phenomena.

Unfortunately, the whole article is not online, but the essence of it is there is a part of the right hemisphere of the brain that helps tie together disparate ideas from across the brain in an intense moment of impulse. This is the moment of "A-ha", which comes as a creative idea or a solution to the problem comes in a flash of brain activity.

The only problem with accessing this ability is that the brain must be relaxed. If the brain becomes more focused, the left brain executive area takes over and the more subtle right brain impulses get overridden.

When I am on a tear working in the studio, the adrenaline helps me get through the long hours of mental and physical labor. It cannot, however, be turned off easily when it is time to sleep, so that leaves me even more tired than I should be. I can see that this tiredness could increase the possibility of right brain insight when my back is against the proverbial wall. So it looks like there may be reason not to alter my pattern.

I have always tried to change these natural tendencies, but if there is brain science backing me up, why fight it? Onward with delirious creativity!


Joe said...

I wonder if this could also help explain moments of insight people have upon awakening from sleep? The brain worked on the problem all night and upon awakening the brain is relaxed and the answer comes. In fact, this also helps explain how answers to some questions only come after one has forgotten to think about the question, like who a certain actor's name is in a movie. The brain needs to relax for the solution to come.

Suzn said...

I have always had that 'up all night before show or exhibit' thing. I have worked at NOT doing that and have gotten away from depriving myself of sleep for the most part, but, sometimes…