Kyna Leski has invested her life in navigating the creative process. She has done this through her teaching as a Professor of Architecture at The Rhode Island School of Design, through her design work as a founding principal of 3six0 Architecture and her practices as an artist, aspiring/practicing actor and writer. She has spoken about the creative process throughout the U.S. and abroad and gave a Main stage presentation at PopTech in 2009. She recently finished writing and illustrating a book, called The Storm of Creativity that will be published by MIT Press this fall. She is an avid rower who can be found most mornings before dawn on the Seekonk River and Narragansett Bay in Providence.
Statement by Kyna Leski:
“I explore, witness, and practice the creative process through my work and my teaching. As a child, I was reprimanded for “getting bored easily,” and now I see that weakness, like all “weaknesses,” as a strength. (Getting bored keeps me moving ahead.) I live in a city whose name, (“pro-videre”) signifies what creativity is: a process of “seeing ahead.” We "see ahead" when we make designs that are materialized in the future, when we write problems that anticipate solutions, when we link one step to another in navigating our lives and the way through anything, especially the empty page, writer’s block, confusion, chaos, needs, and questions. The creative process is the story of this passage and speaks for the author, to the user, the reader, inhabitant, audience or viewer. I have listened and observed these workings as a teacher, a student, a maker, a writer and an architect myself. As an educator I am dedicated to embodied learning, to the precision of mind that comes from measured making and to the clarity of abstraction. As a student, an aspiring/practicing actor and witness I seek to learn something, to be surprised by the author’s soul voice and to find coherence where there wasn’t any. As a maker of things, designer, and writer, I dwell in uncertainty, follow poetry as a process, reason with material, construct, deconstruct and reconstruct—conceptual clarity appearing as a guide. I watch the sunrise almost everyday from a rowing shell, am moved to tears by honesty, and take dreams very seriously.”
Coming Soon From MIT Press
Although each instance of creativity is singular and specific, Kyna Leski tells us, the creative process is universal. Artists, architects, poets, inventors, scientists, and others all navigate the same stages of the process in order to discover something that does not yet exist. All of us must work our way through the empty page, the blank screen, writer’s block, confusion, chaos, and doubt. In this book, Leski draws from her observations and experiences as a teacher, student, maker, writer, and architect to describe the workings of the creative process.
Leski sees the creative process as being like a storm; it slowly begins to gather and take form until it overtakes us—if we are willing to let it. It is dynamic, continually in motion; it starts, stops, rages and abates, ebbs and flows. In illustrations that accompany each chapter, she maps the arc of the creative process by tracing the path of water droplets traveling the stages of a storm.
Leski describes unlearning, ridding ourselves of preconceptions; only when we realize what we don’t know can we pose the problem that we need to solve. We gather evidence—with notebook jottings, research, the collection of objects—propelling the process. We perceive and conceive; we look ahead without knowing where we are going; we make connections. We pause, retreat, and stop, only to start again. To illustrate these stages of the process, Leski draws on examples of creative practice that range from Paul Klee to Steve Jobs, from the discovery of continental drift to the design of Antoni Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia.
Creativity, Leski tells us, is a path with no beginning or end; it is ongoing. This revelatory view of the creative process will be an essential guide for anyone engaged in creative discovery.