October 10, 2010

CHAPTER IX - APPLICATION AND CONCLUSION

 
9.1 Application.

 Firstly, we have to define which dream is useful to our work on creative product. For example, if you are currently handling a brochure about a construction company, you may expect that your dream contain elements which relate to the current work. If you dream of usual images, like having a family dinner or having breakfast, this kind of dreams may only be reflections of your daily life and they do not contain elements that will help the brochure work.

To successfully induce a dream, which relate to your creative product, it relies on motivation. The more motivated you are, your capacity to dream of helpful creative dream increases. And motivation relies on how strong our emotion is for that matter. The following shows: 






9.2 Conclusion.


Dreaming is a state where we can access our inner self and our subconscious mind, a place where it lodges our memory, knowledge, desire, emotion, personal views and our thoughts. Through the dreaming process, we could access this full resources to discover new combination, which we could not access easily in waking state.

Can dream be a source of creativity? Yes, sure it is, but it is not for everyone. Based on the analysis of the theory and the results of the questionnaires, interviews and experiments, the following is discovered:


-    How we view dreams decides how much inspiration we could obtain from the dream. If we view bizarreness, illogical, abstract elements as interesting sources for creativity, they are no doubt our sources of inspirations.

-    Temporary loss of memory is a popular phenomena which block us from obtaining inspiration in dreams. The more we recall our dreams, the more resources we have. So, it is recommended to keep a dream journal at the bedside.

-    Intense dreams contain powerful resources for creativity. Because how we feel has a large effect on what we think.

-    Knowledge and different kind of experience foster creativity. The more knowledge and experience we have, the more creative resources we have. Somehow, dreams are part of our life experience and an effect experienced in a dream is in no way inferior to one of like intensity experienced in waking life, due to the reason that dream is consider as part of our real psychic experiences.

The elements of creative products are around us everywhere, especially within us. The material is all there. All we need to do is access it, find a new combination. What prevent us is our habit of seeing things in the same old familiar way.

We are living in a rational world and everything must be logical. Creativity is defined as a generation of new ideas or concept, and an act of making something new and useful. It needs breakthrough, and we need to think outside the box. As a matter of fact, ideas, inspiration usually occurs when the individual is in a relax situation or doing something without consciousness or doing something enjoyable. In this situation, dreaming can provides us with elements, which are difficult to occur in our logical world. Combining interesting images we observe in the dream fosters creative thinking. Can dream be a source of creativity? The answer is yes but it all depends on how you look at your dreams. The more you regard dreams as inspirational and valuable, they are likely to become more and more so.

August 15, 2010

CHAPTER VIII - EXPERIMENTS

"I sometimes think about an assignment when I'm in bed, but not asleep yet... It's not the same, I know, but sometimes brilliant ideas pop in my mind when I'm laying in the dark just the moment before falling asleep... These things happen most when I have to get some inspiration for a new logo, or when I need to find a solution for a difficult brochure.” Says E.L. (name protected), a Graphic Designer from UK, 6th of September 2006.

Incidentally, many people have used the hypnagogic state (the moment before asleep) to intentionally access their creativity to solve problems, like a Graphic Designer mentioned above, Thomas Edison (American inventor and businessman who developed many devices which greatly influenced life in the 20th century), or as inspiration for works of art (like Salvador Dalí). Edison for example would hold a handful of ball bearings over a metal bucket – he would allow himself to doze, while thinking about a problem. When he fell asleep the bearings would fall into the bucket with a clatter, waking him up. He would search the imagery for solutions, and would often find them.

In Chapter IV, we mentioned about the “The Slumber with a Key” technique in which Salvador Dalí used to induce creative images in sleep onset stage. During November, I ask volunteers to participate in two experiments. In the first experiment, I ask volunteers to induce dream before getting to sleep and relate dreams to their work. Other experiment is “The Slumber with a Key” technique.

Steps of the 1st experiment:
1-    Dream incubation before asleep;
2-    Recall dream and write it down in the next morning;
3-    Evaluate the dream elements to work out their work by combining the dream elements or ideas with the schoolwork.

It is discovered the following:

 Each individual was asked to practice dream incubation to obtain advice on his/her school works. It is discovered that people who always sleep less than 3 hours do not recall their dreams and assume they do not dream. People who sleep more than 8 hours recall their dreams in more details. No one can successfully incubate dreams related to their work under tiredness.

After all, the dreamers proceed to the final step, evaluating dream elements to work out the schoolwork.

The following chart shows the result of the experiment from 9th November until 28th of November (20 days). In the experiment, only two dreamers (A and D) can recombine the elements they observe in the dream, from which it stimulate the design work in waking life. Volunteer A reports that she often dreams of different combination of colors. Volunteer D reports that she sees a combination of squares and letters both in grey scale in the dream and also dreams of magician playing tricks several times. Lately, she uses hybrid images and illusion effects, and squares to work out her design. (These two volunteers usually remember their dreams in details and the images occur in the dream are related to their school works). Volunteer B reports that she dreams of her creative product (souvenir) in its totality, after the night she has already made the product. Others volunteers, C, E and F have failed to induce a desired dream. They dream of unrelated contents most of the time or simply do not remember their dreams. 


 
1st step: Dreaming.

2nd step: Sucessfully recall the dream and which is related to the school work.
 
3rd step: Sucessfully combine the idea and images from the dream to lately evolve the creative product in a waking state.

As we know in previous chapter, creative dreaming happens in two ways, as Dr. Patricia Garfield says, “in the first, dreamers observe the creative product in its totality in the dream. At other times, the dream provides the mood or idea from which the creative product evolves in a waking state”.

Two of the volunteers dreamed of the idea from which the creative product evolves in a waking state and one volunteer successfully induced a dream which is related to the creative product but she does not think that the images of the dream are helpful to her work on the creative product.

Whether we view our dreams are creative or not, the images of dreams contain elements, no matter abstract, or practical, it can stimulate us to evolve the creative product later in a waking state.

As mentioned before, during the sleep onset stage, there are images which contain great elements/ideas for creativity. Many artists, like Salvador Dalí, and inventors, like Thomas Edison, have used this process to obtain great creative inspirations. In the second experiment, I asked volunteers to doze when they craved to sleep, especially just after having an abundant lunch. Two volunteers participated in this experiment. Each of them held a heavy key which they kept suspended. Before that, they previously placed a metal plate upside down on the floor. After making this preparation, they sat on a comfortable chair or sofa and began to doze off. At the same time, they had to induce a desired dream which was related to the creative product they were working on. The moment the key dropped on the metal plate, it would awake them, and they had to report what images occurred at that point when they dozed off.

The experiments were done on the 28th and 30th of December, 2006. One volunteer reported that she could not fall asleep while thinking of her creative task. Another volunteer reported that he fell asleep right away, yet no images were reported as seen when he awoke each time. Moreover, both subjects reported that they felt uncomfortable while being watched as they attempted to doze. I suspected this might have contributed to subject’s inability to achieve creative ideas.

I would recommend a re-run of the second experiment. However, due to lack of volunteers to participate in the re-trial, the experiment could not be re-ran. Former volunteers had study and work commitments, hence they were unavailable.

August 13, 2010

CHAPTER VII - 7.2 Questionnaires.

7.2 Questionnaires.

During the period between September and November, I sent out a total of 70 questionnaires to artists and graphic, web, product, interior designers and graphic design students, from different countries. These people are from Hong Kong, Japan, Sweden, United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and others. The results of the questionnaires are below:


Among 70 questionnaires, 50% agree that dreams are great potential to creativity. The majority of people think that dreams will influence a person’s emotion and idea (81.4% and 67.1%).

After analysis, it shows that people who think dream plays a role in the process of creativity are people who often remember their dreams, between 40-79% of range. Also, these people do think that dreams affect emotion and the way of thinking in waking life. Moreover, 100% of these people think that the contents of their dreams have meaning. However, among those, only 66% of people mention that they have been inspired by a dream to work out a creative task. People who have experienced inspiration from a dream mention that they have dreamt of something which they have not seen in waking state, so they think dreams are great sources for creativity. One dreamer mentioned that he heard a melody in a dream, and he composed a song based on what he heard in the dream after being awake. An artist mentioned that he used to extract the environment from a dream to apply in the background of his painting. A graphic designer showed that the colors in the dream were far more interesting than when she saw in waking life and the composition of the color in her dream inspired her to work out her projects. Another dreamer mentioned that sometimes she woke up and remembered some images of the dream, and then those images and the mood of the dreams would finally become the theme of the artwork after some speculation.

In general, people think dream play a role in the process of creativity due to the following reasons:

-    Dreams are abstracts, bizarre, unlimited, without boundaries, so unusual and the images they see are far more interesting than in waking life;
-    Dreams come from the subconscious mind;
-    Dreams shape people’s mind;
-    Dreams are part of life and we don’t cease thinking during sleeping;
-    Many evidences show that dreams inspire creativity;
-    Dreams think broader than in waking state;
-    Our sensations are more intense in dream;
-    What we can’t do in waking life, but in dreams we can, so dreams foster creativity;

On the other hand, people who don’t think that dreams play a role in the process of creativity present personal reasons like:

-    Dream images are bizarre, illogical and are too abstract to be understand;
-    Dreams are only useful for artists but not designers because designers think logically;
-    Dreams are hard to recall;
-    Dreams images are not interesting and are as usual as waking life;
-    Dream contents are irrelevant with creative work.

It is interesting to note that “bizarre” and “abstract” can be viewed as inspirational and non-inspirational. Some people view bizarreness and abstract elements as great sources for creativity while others do not. Moreover, people usually dream of images just as usual as in waking life, consider dreams could not give them inspiration for creativity. On the other hand, people usually dream of unusual images, get easily inspiration from their dreams.
 

Finally, it concludes that people who remember their dreams more often think dreams play a role in the process of creativity, and how we view our dreams is also essential to make dreams inspirational.

CHAPTER VII - 7.1 Personal Interviews.

7.1 Personal Interviews.

Brenda Ferrimani began her artistic work in the 1980’s as a graphic designer, operating her own design firm with clients throughout the state of Colorado, where she resides. During this time she also became known in the area for the historic murals she painted with private and public commissions, and for her work as President of the Berthoud Arts and Humanities Alliance, lending her support to other Colorado artists.


The Dream:
I am holding a silver tool and making circles that become worlds. My son sees the tool and what I can do. He says, ‘Mom, that’s cool! Can I use it?’ He takes the tool from my hand and leaves in my car.” - - Brenda Ferrimani Dream Journal.

On October 2006, I contact Brenda Ferrimani, by email, and asked her for a personal interview. Here is the interview questions/answers on the topic “Dreams and Creativity” with Brenda Ferrimani on 17th of October, 2006:


Cristina: “Who or what inspired you to use your dreams to create works of art?”
Brenda Ferrimani:There was a period in my life …"
(content protected)

Cristina: “Was that the first time you displayed your dream art? (‘The Silver Tool’ and ‘Meeting the Inner Saboteur’)”


Brenda Ferrimani:No, in fact I began showing my Dream Art when …” (content protected)



Cristina: “Do you think that dreams are a great source of creativity? Why?” 

Brenda Ferrimani: Oh, most definitely! Creativity resides in the unconscious and …” 

(content protected)

Cristina: “Do you think that dreams will affect someone's emotion and even influence a person's idea?” 
Brenda Ferrimani: I think it is sort of the other way …” 

(content protected)

Cristina: “Do you usually see actual finished works of art in your dreams and then draw/paint them in waking life, or do your start with a central image or theme and have it flow onto your canvas gathering details as it takes form?” 

Brenda Ferrimani:In my dream art …” 

(content protected)

Cristina: “How did you create ‘The Silver Tool’ and ‘Meeting the Inner Saboteur’ based on your dreams? How did your dreams play a role in the process of creativity?”

Brenda Ferrimani:In the dream …" (content protected)

Cristina: “Thank you very much for sharing your points of view and experiences here with us. Wish you all the best!”



- - - - - - - - - -


International Association for the Study of Dreams is a non-profit, international, multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the pure and applied investigation of dreams and dreaming.
 

Cristina: “Dream does affect emotions, but what about our thought? If a dreamer doesn't remember his/her dream, will the images of dreams somehow press in his/her memory and then affect his/her way of thinking in waking life? Is that possible?”
 

IASD: “I'd say not only possible, but virtually certain. Reseachers have repeatedly shown that subliminal imagery - imagery that the recipient has no conscious awareness of - can profoundly effect behavior. Imagery from dreams not consciously recalled falls in the same "subliminal" category, and will have an effect either directly, or indirectly, through emotional affect. After all, how we feel has a large effect on what we think - ask anyone who has experienced depression.” (11th of November, 2006 - Discussion Board)


- - - - - - - - - -


The following is a translation of an interview dated in 17th of November, 2006, with a neurologist in Macao, Dr. Chan Pei Yuan
 

Cristina: “Do dreams affect our emotions? Why?”
Dr. Chan Pei Yuan: “Firstly, there are lots of reasons explain why we dream. Dreams are reflections of our daily life, so there is strong relationship between dream and reality. What we worry about will reflect in the dreams, and what we remember somehow stimulates our way of thinking. You asked ´Do dreams affect our emotion?´ It depends on each individual. For example, skeptics can usually separate dream from reality, so they don’t have so much affects on dreams. They are not even aware of the existence of dreams. Another example is people who live in poor country like in Africa. What they only care about is survival, so their dreams rarely reflect affections, psyche and consciousness. On the other hand, people who have religious belief may consider dream has meaning and they are more likely to be influenced by dreams. Dreams reflect their psyche. What they worry in daily life will lodge in the subconscious mind and it will reflect in the dreams.

Moreover, dream reminds us about our physical condition, especially when we are sick or in disorder condition. I have met patients who suffer heart attack always dream of somebody hit their upper part of the body and patient who suffer articulation problems always dream of unmovable situation."
 

Cristina: “Do dreams have meanings?”
Dr. Chan Pei Yuan: “Meaningful dreams are those in which have strong connections with our daily life. For example, if a politician dreamed of the development of Macao, and his dream might contain something that inspire him to think in a waking state. But when you dream of a rock mixed with a flower, it might not related to the waking life, so no meaning at all.” 
 

Cristina: “Is it true that creativity occur more easily in a relaxing state? What influences directly to human creative thinking?”
Dr. Chan Pei Yuan: “The more experience a person has, the more capacity of thinking he has. Also, lots of reasons influence a person’s creative thinking. But it very much related to the basic knowledge. For example, you can’t expect a shoemaker to invent a submarine. He has no basic knowledge of making a submarine. Also, the creative area is very much connected with the language area.”
 

Cristina: “Are dreams great sources for creativity?”
Dr. Chan Pei Yuan: “No. Dreams are part of our daily life and they are natural phenomena of our body. They aren’t necessary for creative thinking. You take an example of the inventors, they don’t need to rely on their dreams to invent. On the other hand, if a person dreams a lot, this person will be very tired. Because normally we don’t remember our dreams and this is healthy.”
 

Cristina: “Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge here with me.”

(to continue - 7.2 Questionnaires.)

August 12, 2010

CHAPTER VII - PERSONAL INTERVIEWS AND QUESTIONNAIRES


7.1 Personal Interviews.

Brenda Ferrimani began her artistic work in the 1980’s as a graphic designer, operating her own design firm with clients throughout the state of Colorado, where she resides. During this time she also became known in the area for the historic murals she painted with private and public commissions, and for her work as President of the Berthoud Arts and Humanities Alliance, lending her support to other Colorado artists. (to continue) 


7.2 Questionnaires.

During the period between September and November, I sent out a total of 70 questionnaires to artists and graphic, web, product, interior designers and graphic design students, from different countries. These people are from Hong Kong, Japan, Sweden, United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and others. The results of the questionnaires are below: (to continue)

April 3, 2010

CHAPTER VI - 6.3 Evaluating Your Dreams.


6.3 Evaluating Your Dreams.

After writing down your dream, it is suggested to combine images/ideas of dreams with the creative product that you are recently working on. This helps stimulate your creative thinking.
 

CHAPTER VI - 6.2 Keep A Dream Journal.



6.2 Keep A Dream Journal.

Dreams are hard to remember but there are techniques to improve the situation.(1)

1-    Before getting to sleep, it is suggested to put a pen and notebook or a voice recorder next to your pillow or on a table next to your bed;


2-    Say or think a few words that you will remember your dream after you awake. Repeat it five to ten times before asleep;
 

3-    Upon awakening, lie quietly before getting out of bed. It is recommended not to have any physical movement;
 

4-    In this state, try to remember every detail of the dream, let it unfold from the beginning till the end, and it is recommended not to try to interpret the dream content or add any thought to the dream;
 

After recalling the dream, it is suggested to write it down on a notebook or record it on your recorder.  

(to continue - 6.3 Evaluating Your Dreams.)

CHAPTER VI - 6.1 Dream Incubation.



6.1 Dream Incubation.

Human interest in dreams dates back five thousand years. Lots of written records have been found in some of the first civilizations including formulas to incubate dreams. “Since dream incubation was defined as the practice of going to a sacred place to sleep for the purpose of obtaining a useful dream from a god, they believed that they needed holy places and gods.”(1) In former times, dream incubation was practiced in ancient Greece when sick people would stay in the Dream Temple, asking the gods for a dream of healing. Dreamers practiced incubation to obtain advice on problems and to become healed from a variety of afflictions. Nowadays, modern therapists effort to use dreams therapeutically probably descended from these ancient practices. 

Everyone can induce dream in any place where it is easy for him or her to feel peaceful and rested. Dr. Patricia Garfield, in her book Creative Dreaming, she suggests some techniques which help dreamers to incubate dream and relate dreams to their waking life based on the dream incubation methods used by ancient dreamers.

Simply put it means to ask your dreams to address a certain question in your life. Pick any topic you would like to dream about. For example: ‘I want a dream to tell me what to do about_____’ (a particular situation), or ‘I want a dream to tell me how to feel better,’ or ‘I want a dream of flying.’ Choose a specific dream topic.” (1)

It reports that many creative dreams are induced in that way. “Firstly, clearly formulate the desired dream, accept the fact that it is possible to induce dreams, and concentrate your attention patiently and persistently on the desired dream. You can use a simple, clear words or phrase request to yourself for a specific dream, repeat it many times and concentrating your thoughts upon it.”

Your body should be in a deeply relaxed state when you present yourself with suggestion for the intended dream.” Many methods of relaxing will produce a desirable body state. This step is particularly important because the mind is more receptive when the body is relaxed. Another helpful practice in inducing dreams is to visualize the desired dream as though it is happening.

Furthermore, the key to successfully incubating a desired dream and obtain answers from dreams rely on our belief. The power to advise or inspiration actually comes from within the dreamer, not from a specific god outside him. Belief is what makes dream incubation possible. 

(to continue - 6.2 Keep A Dream Journal.)

March 31, 2010

CHAPTER VI - TECHNIQUES TO DEVELOP DREAMS (FOR CREATIVITY)


Why do we care about our dreams? Why do we have to develop our dreams in order to get inspirations? Many people have these kinds of questions in mind and they just do not realize that their dreams hold great potential to creativity. The products which are inspired by dreams will be far more original, in most cases, than the products that are devised simply by using thought process in waking life. In addition to the benefit of greater originality in our products, we can also gain the value of greater unity of self, of our waking and dream lives. The more we use elements from our dream life, the more we will be able to develop and express our own unique personality, at its integrated best.

As we mentioned in the previous chapter, creative dreams generally happen in two ways: in the first, dreamers observe the creative product in its totality in the dream. At other times, the dream provides the mood or idea from which the creative product evolves in a waking state. These creative products from dreams can be the result of deliberately planned creative dreaming as well as the result of unplanned creative dreaming. They can just happen to us or we can induce them.




6.1 Dream Incubation.

Human interest in dreams dates back five thousand years. Lots of written records have been found in some of the first civilizations including formulas to incubate dreams. “Since dream incubation was defined as the practice of going to a sacred place to sleep for the purpose of obtaining a useful dream from a god, they believed that they needed holy places and gods.”(1) In former times, dream incubation was practiced in ancient Greece when sick people would stay in the Dream Temple, asking the gods for a dream of healing. Dreamers practiced incubation to obtain advice on problems and to become healed from a variety of afflictions. Nowadays, modern therapists effort to use dreams therapeutically probably descended from these ancient practices. (to continue)



6.2 Keep A Dream Journal. 

Dreams are hard to remember but there are techniques to improve the situation. (to continue) 


6.3 Evaluating Your Dreams.

After writing down your dream, it is suggested to combine images/ideas of dreams with the creative product that you are recently working on. This helps stimulate your creative thinking.

March 27, 2010

CHAPTER V - DOES CREATIVE/INSPIRED DREAM OCCURS IN EVERYBODY'S DREAM?


As mentioned in the previous chapters, dreams can be a great portal to creativity. The images we see in dreams probably are far more interesting than what we see in waking life. In fact, it is not universal to everybody. Dr. Patricia Garfield mentions, “The power to have interesting dreams comes from the personality of the dreamer. Interesting material must exist in the dreamer before interesting dreams can occur.”(1)

Any dreamer who regards dreams as important and worthwhile is likely to remember and utilize his dreams. In fact, one researcher finds that people in cultures that give dreams importance have dreams that are more consistent with consciously held ideals rather than dreams unacceptable to the self. Dream events in such societies tend to be relevant to waking life events. Thus, if you regard your dreams as nonsense, they are likely to remain so, if recalled at all. But if you regard your dreams as valuable, they are likely to become more and more so. (1)

As we see in chapter IV, the examples in which dreamers could successfully bring images from dreams are possible if only the dreamers remember his or her dream. Most of us usually don’t remember our dreams due to some facts. “If dreaming is not interrupted by awakening, it is rare to have recall. Poor or no dream recall by many people is a function of the abolition of memory during these brain activated phases of sleep. As the chemical systems that are responsible for recent memory are completely turned off when the brain is activated during sleep, it is difficult to have recall unless an awakening occurs to restore the availability of these chemicals to the brain.” (2)

In other words, we usually don’t remember our dream because during asleep, we tend to lose our memory due to the change of brain chemistry. The two neurotransmitters which used to help us make deliberate associations which aid us in remembering things cease firing during sleep. Understanding that loss of memory is one of the facts which avoid us from approaching the realm of dream in order to use it to create, it may lead some people to doubt of the creation ability within us during sleep. However, dreams can be remembered under certain situations. “It is usually easy for a person to recall his or her dreams if he or she tries to think about them and remember them every morning upon awakening.” Once we are awake, we gain back our memory, and it is the moment for us to recall images from our previous night’s dreaming experience.

Moreover, the usual dream content is another reason that people don’t rely on their dreams for creativity. From the questionnaires conducted during September and October, 2006, there is a comment of a graphic designer, Mr. Dextro, from Austria, 24th of September, and he says: “There is another reason why dreams don’t have a direct influence on my work: the fact that they are usually about real situations and people, while my works are always abstract…” Instead, he mentions: “Access to the subconscious by the use of cannabis.”

Furthermore, dreams are illogical, bizarre and metaphorical. Dreams are hard to understand because its language is different from what we use in waking life. “To understand the dream, we must begin with an understanding of the way the two languages differ and what it is we are saying when we speak the language of the dream”, says Dr. Montague Ullman, “While asleep and dreaming, a pictorial figurative sensory language takes over and reflects our feeling states.”

Therefore, it is difficult to totally assume that dream can be a source for creativity to certain people due to the facts that dreams are hard to recall and its metaphor prone language is also difficult to understand in instance, many people do not consider their dreams as great sources for creativity. However, these obstacles can somehow be overcome by some techniques like, putting a small notebook next to the bed and recalling the dream in the moment just awake and write it down on a notebook and take time to interpret the images of dreams in order to unlock the hidden meaning in the dreams. Once the metaphor of the dream is broken, we will realize and appreciate how great it is for us to open up an opportunity to the realm of dreams. The following chapter presents some recent techniques created by psychologists for inducing creative dreams.

February 7, 2010

CHAPTER IV - 4.3 Other Inspirations of Dreams.



4.3 Other Inspirations of Dreams.

As previously discussed, dreams always contribute mankind to create. Almost anything we see in a dream can be put on canvas. It is reasonable to accept that dreams can inspire lots of artists to paint, musicians to compose and writers to create remarkable stories. But, have you thought of dreams may also contribute to architect and even to the world of science? Architectural design is considered as a visual art, but it differs from those it has discussed before. It involves engineering, and must operate within fixed structural limits. An artist can paint a building floating in air but an architect could not build it. However, some architects have translated some of their dreams into reality. In the following it presents more evidences of the contribution of dream, from the worlds of art to the arena of science.   

Picture: The Flag by Jasper Johns, 1954

 In the word of art, Jasper Johns, an American Pop Artist, born in 1930, his own artistic aspirations led him to New York where he painted for several years without finding his unique artistic vision until he dreamed it in the form of a large American flag in 1954. He dreamed himself painting a large American flag, and the next day he began exactly that project, later titled simply Flag. Later, a series of flag pictures followed, which led Johns as a major pop artist. Johns later told an interviewer, “I have not dreamed of any other painting. I must be grateful for such a dream!” He laughed. “The unconscious thought was accepted by the conscious gratefully.”(1)

Later on, Jasper Johns’s Flag, a based on dream art work, is specifically classified by the art world as a prime example of the genre called Realism.

Picture: Brushstrokes Cut in 20 Squares and Arranged by Chance by Ellsworth Kelly, 1951

Another inspired dream led Ellsworth Kelly, American painter, to develop his abstract geometric assemblies of multiple canvases from a similar dream experience as Jasper Johns. Kelly dreamed he was working on a huge whirled splatter painting like the ones his sixth graders did. In the dream, he had the idea of cutting up the canvas and arranging the resulting sixteen pieces in a grid, with their stronger lines flowing horizontally. After Kelly awoke, he sketched the grid, and wrote an account ending, “In this dream is something I have been waiting for.” Another of his painting was called Brushstrokes Cut in 20 Squares and Arranged by Chance. The brushstrokes are deliberately arranged horizontally as in the dream. The only difference from the dream’s dictation was to move from a sixteen to a twenty segment grid. After that, Kelly repeated this kind of theme for more than a year, and the resulting images established his great reputation.(2)

In literature, Graham Greene reported that “when an obstacle seems insurmountable, I read the day’s work before sleep and leave the unconscious to labor in my place. When I wake, the obstacle has nearly always been removed: the solution is there and obvious – perhaps it came in a dream which I have forgotten.” In a period of financial stress, he dreamed that he had been sentenced to prison for five years and separated from his wife. This dream served a dual purpose for his next novel, It’s a Battlefield, both by providing him with impetus to get started on it and by giving him the basics of the plot. Another of his novels, The Honorary Consul, also began with a dream. Greene recorded his dreams everyday and allowed them to be published as A World of My Own: A Dream Diary. Also, the American writer William Burroughs noted, “A good part of my material comes from dreams. A lot of it is just straight transcription of dreams with some amplification, of course.” Moreover, Stephen King noted, “I think that dreams are a way that people’s minds illustrate the nature of their problems. Or maybe even illustrate the answers to their problems in symbolic language.”

In architecture, Lucy Davis, Chief Architect at a major North Carolina firm, dreams many of her designs. In one example of her dream, she dreamed of a person whose outstretched arms turned into a ship with a prow pointed at the same angle. Then it became a house she was walking through. There was a section with clerestory windows; the beams crossed and created the shape of the windows. After the dream, Davis built the house in the Y shape of the person’s arms and the boat’s prow, and put in the windows exactly as she had seen them in the dream. “The overall plan came from the abstract part of the dream,” Davis says. “The window details were more literally translated.” Later on, the finished house eventually received a several page layout in an architecture magazine. “I’ve designed at least a dozen to fifteen houses this way.” Davis says, “It typically happens when I’ve worked on a project but I’m not really getting anywhere. Those tend to be the ones that pop out in the dream process. I remember one house I was kind of stuck on and I had a dream that I went to a party in the finished house – that solved it! It was an incidental detail to the dream, but crucial to waking life.”(3)

Picture: The Dream Palace by Ferdinand Cheval, 1836-1924

Another example, The Dream Palace, a historic monument and it is a nowadays leading tourist attraction in the French province of Drôme. It is a structure that an untrained postman, Ferdinand Cheval, carved into a rock hillside during approximately 93,000 of his off-duty hours over thirty-three years. The Dream Palace completed in 1912. The palace winds irregularly over thirty yards, studded with fantastic animals and ornate arched corridors. This disorder of styles and the influences of different cultures found their way into Cheval’s creation. After several years, Picasso and Breton described the palace as the architectural expression of the Surrealist movement. It has been mentioned in chapters on dream art as a dream creation, and there are quotes from Cheval translated as, “I dreamed of this palace for years before beginning it,” and “I first saw the palace in my dreams.” However, the French use the word ‘reve’ just as we use the word dream, to denote both sleeping hallucinations and daytime goals. Cheval’s longer descriptions of the palace’s design indicate it is the result of the latter. He makes it clear that he first got the idea when looking at a misaddressed book on Moorish architecture that had been returned to his post office as undeliverable. He imagined further details and searched for an appropriate location while making his daily rounds for years before construction of the dreamlike, but not dreamed, structure.(4)  

The field of music, too, owes some of its famous pieces to unplanned creative dreams. Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770), the Italian violinist and composer, had such a dream. Tartini related that at the age of twenty-one he had a dream in which he sold his soul to the Devil. “But how great was my astonishment when I heard him play with consummate skill a sonata of such exquisite beauty as surpassed the boldest flights of my imagination. I felt enraptured, transported, enchanted; my breath was taken away, and I awoke. Seizing my violin I tried to retain the sounds I had heard. But it was in vain. The piece I then composed, the ‘Devil’s Sonata,’ was the best I ever wrote, but how far below the one I had heard in my dream!(5)

Most people rarely hear music in their dreams. Researchers examining five thousand dreams from one thousand college students, found that 1.5 percent of accounts contained any reference to sounds.(6) Brain activity in dreaming likely reflects waking priorities in which most of our sensory cortex is devoted to visual processing. 


In the world of invention, in 1844, Elias Howe had begun to design the prototype of a sewing machine, but couldn’t figure out how the machine was to hold a needle. One night Howe dreamed he was captured by savages who threatened to kill him if he didn’t finish the machine right away. In the dream, “he saw himself surrounded by dark-skinned and painted warriors, who formed a hollow square about him and led him to the place of execution. Suddenly he noticed that near the heads of the spears which his guards carried, there were eye-shaped holes. He had solved the secret! What was needed was a needle with an eye near the point! He awoke from his dream and at once made a model of the eye-pointed needle, with which he brought his experiments to a successful close.”

The following is from Anthony Steven's book Private Myths: Dreams and Dreaming: “As a young man, Albert Einstein dreamed he was speeding down a steep mountainside on a sled. He went faster and faster and as he approached the speed of light he noticed that the stars above him were refracting light into spectra of colors that he had never seen before. This image impressed him so deeply that he never forgot it, maintaining that his entire scientific achievement had seen the result of meditating on that dream. It provided the basis of the thought experiment through which he worked out the principle of relativity.”


Researchers show that dreams solving scientific problems are more likely, however, to come from the sleep onset state, which occurs immediately upon falling asleep or just before awakening. This is what Salvador Dali’s “Slumber with a Key” technique, described in previous section of Surrealism, seeks to create. Dreams in this way provoke more logical thinking about what the visual images mean. The sleep onset state is the next closest state to waking in terms of brain wave patterns, and it is in these half awake state, where the two realities, dream and waking, interact together. The dreamer can critically evaluate images while they are still before the eyes.

There are thousands of records about the creativity inspired by dreams found in many books and articles, and it is beyond the scope to list them all here. Most of the examples shown above are likely that the dreamer dreams the solution of the problem (case like Jasper Johns) or the dream provides the mood or idea from which the product evolves later in a waking state (case like the sewing machine). According to Dr. Patricia Garfield, “creative dreaming happens in two ways: In the first, dreamers observe the creative product in its totality in the dream. At other times, the dream provides the mood or idea from which the creative product evolves in a waking state.”(7)

Can this kind of dream experiences happen to everybody? How does dream solve problem? Neurology suggests that dreaming is simply the mind thinking in a different biochemical mode. Throughout this emotional, visual, hallucinatory state, we continue to worry about personal, practical, or artistic problems – and occasionally we solve them. In the following chapter, it discusses if creative dreams only happen to certain people or all of us.

February 1, 2010

CHAPTER IV - 4.2 Surrealism.



4.2 Surrealism.

At the end of World War I (1914 - 1918), European youth were enlightened -- none more so than young artists, who tended toward both pacifism and cynicism. They refused to spend their gifts glorifying war and the politicians who had led tens of thousands to their deaths. Instead, the most gifted artists flocked around André Breton in Paris, as he called for a revolution in painting, drama and literature. André Breton (1896-1966) was a French writer, poet, and surrealist theorist, and is best known as the main founder of surrealism.(1)

During the period of 1920’s and 1930’s, surrealism became a major force in artistic movement and dreams were used as a main source of creation. Therefore, as a mode of escape, surrealists used dreams more expressly than any school of art before. Breton always invited Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, and Man Ray to his apartment on rue Fontaine where they recounted dreams to one another. Breton’s “Manifesto of Surrealism”(*i) proclaimed the “omnipotence of the dream” and described the new movement as the “resolution of the two states, dreaming and reality, which were so seemingly contradictory into a kind of absolute reality--a surreality.”(2)

Many artists painted specific dream images, and all of them use characteristics of the dream world such as space that has no depth or extends to infinity, and juxtaposition of objects which do not belong together.(3)

A few titles which reflect the topic are: The Persistence of Memory, The Dream and the Happy Unicorn by Salvador Dalí; The Dream of Two Children Frightened by a Nightingale by Max Ernst and Landscape from a Dream by Paul Nash.


Picture: The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dalí, 1931

Salvador Dalí was born on the 11th of May, 1904 and had died in 1989. He was a Spanish painter, sculptor, photographer, and designer. He studied in Madrid and Barcelona before moving to Paris, where, in the late 1920s, after reading Sigmund Freud’s writings on the erotic significance of subconcious imagery, he joined the Surrealist group of artists. Once Dalí hit on this method, his painting style matured with extraordinary rapidity, and from 1929 to 1937 he produced the paintings that made him the world’s best known Surrealist artist. His paintings describe a dream world in which commonplace objects, painted with precise accordance with details, are juxtaposed and deformed in bizarre ways. Among his best-known works is Persistence of Memory (1931; Museum of Modern Art, New York City) with its strangely melting clocks. Dalí used dreamlike perception of space and dream-inspired symbols such as melting watches and huge metronomes.

Picture: The Dream by Salvador Dalí, 1947

The Dream was painted by Salvador Dalí in oil on canvas during 1947. The style of the painting is surrealist and the theme represented is illusion. The painting is currently displayed at Fundacio Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueras.

"Every morning when I wake up I experience an exquisite joy - - the joy of being Salvador Dalí - - and I ask myself in rapture, ‘What wonderful things this Salvador Dalí is going to accomplish today?’ ” – Salvador Dalí. 


Picture: Two Children Frightened by a Nightingale by Max Ernst, 1924

Max Ernst was born on the 2nd of April, 1891, in Germany, and died in 1976. He first enrolled in the University at Bonn in 1909 to study philosophy, but soon abandoned this pursuit to concentrate on art. After World War I, Ernst joined the surrealist movement in Paris and then became one of the founders of surrealism. Apart from the medium of collage, for which he is well known, Ernst developed other devices to express his fantastic vision. In frottage he rubbed black chalk on paper held against various materials such as leaves, wood, and fabrics to achieve bizarre effects. He was also the author of several volumes of collage novels. A note of whimsy often characterizes his dreamlike landscapes while other works reveal an allegorical imagination. Two Children Frightened by a Nightingale and several other works are in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. 

 
Picture: Landscape from a Dream by Paul Nash, 1936-1938

Paul Nash was born on the 11th of May, 1889, in London, and died in 1946. He was educated at St. Paul school and the Slade School of Art. Nash was an Official War Artist during both the First and Second World Wars. The painting Landscape from a Dream marks the climax of Nash’s personal response to Surrealism, of which he had been aware since the late 1920s. As the title suggests, it echoes the Surrealists’ fascination with Freud’s theories of the power of dreams to reveal the unconscious. Nash explained that various elements were symbolic: the self-regarding hawk belongs to the material world, while the spheres reflected in the mirror refer to the soul. Typically, Nash set this scene on the coast of Dorset, unearthing the uncanny within the English landscape.

The ways which the above artists obtained surreal images from dreams is different from one to another. For example, the following method describes how Salvador Dalí obtains lots of surreal images.




The Sleep Onset Stage- Slumber With a Key
"In this posture, you must hold a heavy key which you keep suspended, delicately pressed between the extremities of the thumb and forefinger of your left hand. Under the key you will previously have placed a plate upside down on the floor. Having made these preparations, you will have merely to let yourself be progressively invaded by a serene afternoon sleep, like the spiritual drop of anisette of your soul rising in the cube of sugar of your body. The moment the key drops from your fingers, you may be sure that the noise of its fall on the upside-down plate will awaken you…” (4)   

-- Salvador Dalí


Dalí obtained lots of surreal images this way. In a volume, Fifty Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship(*ii), Dalí dispensed advice to aspiring artists. He claimed that the greatest potential inspiration lay in the dream. “What you prevent yourself from doing and force yourself not to do, the dream will do with all the lucidity of desire”, says Dalí. He found that many vivid images occur just as the moment we are beginning to fall asleep, hold great potential for art creation. Those images are what psychologists call “hypnagogic imagery” -- images occurring at the moment we are beginning to fall asleep, or simply translated to sleep onset, have helped Dalí develop lots of great art.

Surrealism was mainly influenced by Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical theories about subconscious, but the movement was also very much a reaction against the “reason” that had led Europe into the devastations of World War I. However, the movement was greatly diminished after World War II.

Although surrealism decreased after World War II, however dream continues to influence mankind to create. Reports show that dreams contribute not only to surrealist, in fact, after the movement of surrealism, there are lots of great modern artists, architects and photographers declaring that dream contributes them to work out their project and find out their artistic vision. The following section shows more about these cases.


(to continue - 4.3 Other Inspirations of Dreams.)


*i) - Manifesto of Surrealism – It was written by Andre Breton and published in 1924. This document defines Surrealism as: “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express - - verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner - - the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.


*ii) - Fifty Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship – Rare, important volume in which famed Surrealist expounds (in Dali inimitably eccentric fashion) on what painting should be, the history of painting, what is good and bad painting, the merits of specific artists, and more. Includes his 50 "secrets" for mastering the craft, including "the secret of the painter's pointed mustaches." Filled with sensible artistic advice, lively personal anecdotes, academic craftsmanship, and the artist's own marginal drawings.

January 20, 2010

CHAPTER IV - 4.1 Prehistoric Period.



4.1 Prehistoric Period.

Dreams have played a role in visual art since human began to represent the world. The images of the night have always inspired artists to create breathtaking masterpieces throughout the human history.

Cave art or rock art are believed as the earliest paintings on earth, dating to prehistoric times, 40,000 years ago; they are painted on cave or rock walls and ceilings, and usually are the work of respected elders or shamans – tribal priest who use supernatural forces to heal illness or predict the future.(1) Would it be possible that the first dream which human used it to create art can be found on the walls like in the Lascaux Caves(i) in France?


The Lascaux Caves were discovered on September 1940, by four French teenagers, and it is believed it is the most remarkable cave paintings in the world. Also, lots of fantastic elements have been found on the walls of caves in Lascaux, in France, believed to represent human prehistoric dreams.(2)

Another similar cave art was found at the cave of California’s Ojai Valley (Valley of the Moon). These paintings dated back to 1000 A.D. and were done by the ‘atiswinic – a type of shaman whose title meant “dreamer” or “having a dream”.(3)

Other tribes around the world also use dreams as a basis for visual arts. For example, in India, people paint their dreams on the walls of their own houses. In North America, people weave their dream images into the patterns of banners and beadwork. In Australia, the aborigines have long depicted the events of their dreams with distinctive dot paintings on bark.(3)


(to continue - 4.2 Surrealism.)



*i) The Lascaux Caves - A cave complex in southwestern France, contain some of the most remarkable paleolithic cave paintings in the world. Known as "the prehistoric Sistine Chapel", the Lascaux paintings are at least 15,000 years old.

January 19, 2010

CHAPTER IV - EVIDENCE FOUND ON DREAM INSPIRES HUMAN CREATIVITY



4.1 Prehistoric Period.

Dreams have played a role in visual art since human began to represent the world. The images of the night have always inspired artists to create breathtaking masterpieces throughout the human history.

Cave art or rock art are believed as the earliest paintings on earth, dating to prehistoric times, 40,000 years ago; they are painted on cave or rock walls and ceilings, and usually are the work of respected elders or shamans. (to continue)




4.2 Surrealism.

At the end of World War I (1914 - 1918), European youth were enlightened -- none more so than young artists, who tended toward both pacifism and cynicism. They refused to spend their gifts glorifying war and the politicians who had led tens of thousands to their deaths. Instead, the most gifted artists flocked around André Breton in Paris, as he called for a revolution in painting, drama and literature. André Breton (1896-1966) was a French writer, poet, and surrealist theorist, and is best known as the main founder of surrealism.(1)

During the period of 1920’s and 1930’s, surrealism became a major force in artistic movement and dreams were used as a main source of creation. (to continue)



4.3 Other Inspirations of Dreams.

As previously discussed, dreams always contribute mankind to create. Almost anything we see in a dream can be put on canvas. It is reasonable to accept that dreams can inspire lots of artists to paint, musicians to compose and writers to create remarkable stories. But, have you thought of dreams may also contribute to architect and even to the world of science? (to continue)