The Creative Process: Talk

Eleven of october of 2012. Aula 3-2. 20:00 hour

School of Architecture

University of Sevilla. The creative process




Originally, there were no differences between sculptors and architects. Were the same. The original cave was carved and painted and the same cave is extracted from the mountain and becomes habitat.


The master masons extracted blocks in quarries, sawed and transported to places where they would build the houses or churches, and they proposed the design that would be performed. Remember the book “The Pillars of the Earth”, which reflects the transition from Romanesque to Gothic and how is the master mason who designed the cathedral.


The fundamental difference between sculptors and architects is that what the sculptors makes is totally useless, has no use. The architect is subjected to usability than they made.


Our educational system is outdated. It is created with the industrial revolution to supply suitable workers to the new production system. So there is a hierarchy of subjects and prevailing language and mathematics, to read instructions and take action. Today where industrial production comes mainly from Asia, does not correspond to new needs.


Under the old system, if you graduabas, was likely soon you started to work with a good salary. Today it is not.


The education system should give us tools to explain the world and get the best version of ourselves and prepare for the current job requirements.



Today, when an architect has finished studying in school and gets its title, has a legion of comrades who have made the same primary school, the same school and the same grade title. The only thing that differentiates them is creativity.





Think for a moment of infinite space, the stars and the great distance between them and that huge empty space or dark. Consider the solar system, the planets and the Moon’s distance from Earth, and that huge dark space.


Think about the distance, far from a mountain, look at the mass of trees. We get closer and can see a tree with a leafy crown and going closer we will  see the branches and the space between them. Contemplate the leaf surface and if we take a microscope, we will see a fauna of mites with huge spaces to move. Let down and we will see the cells and the huge spaces between ribosomes and mitochondria. And if we got it down to the atom and we will astound us with the huge distance between the nucleus and electrons.


From the Theory of Relativity to Quantum Physics. All things considered solid is porous, and are sculptural matter.

The interior space that makes the parts of the piece, are sculptural matter.

The space surrounding the piece is sculptural matter.

The light, which behaves like a wave and a particle, and its absence is sculptural matter.



This famous quote (“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”) of Pablo Ruiz Picasso, enable us to explore the two different creative systems.


The first, the search is typical of researchers. It is based on making changes in elements of the original formula.


For Instance, the mayonnaise It is a cold emulsified sauce. In my house is made with egg, olive oil, sherry vinegar and salt. We therefore, a protein, a fat and an acid (and salt). If instead of sherry vinegar, put apple cider vinegar, lemon, lime, grapefruit … Instead of olive oil, use sunflower oil, soybean oil, butter … or just replace the clear egg or yolk , or cow, sheep, goat, rice, oats, soybeans … get variations of the original.


In these variations is a creative process that we can delve adding paprika, cilantro, parsley, dill, beets, carrots … or a myriad of ingredients to alter the flavor but not its essence.


But if this now cold sauce is boiled, fried or grilled … Do we still have mayonnaise?


Recall that we are conditioned by our culture but this is not universal. Concepts like beauty have different meanings in different cultures. Crispin Sartwell in his book “Six Names of Beauty” shows six different definitions of a concept that we might seem universal.

  • In English “Beauty” is “object of longing”.
  • In Hebrew  “Yapha” is “glow or bloom”.
  • In Sanskrit  “Sundara” is “Whole or holy”.
  • In the old Greek “Kalon” means idea or ideal.
  • In Japanese “Wabi-sabi”,  “Humility or imperfection”.
  • In Navajo “Hozho”, “Health or harmony”.




Jorge Oteiza: The sculpture begins to exist when you start to think of it, when its image began to take shape, content, features, purposes.

For years I have accumulated found objects, bones, stones, phrases, images, music … as a warehouse of forms, hotbed of ideas … awaiting the time for use. Sometimes I review it and write down on a sheet of paper … because I belive that is much better a small pencil that a big memory.



The sketch is still at an intimate scale. At this stage almost everything is still possible. It is commonly found in the sketch proximity and intensity, an emotion which is then transformed into something that can be beautiful… but also without soul… all can happens.

Let settle the sketch. Forget it. It should sleep. It should rest.

Let’s go back and regain the idea, image and sketch. Work in depth the possible variations. What shows better  the essence that we seek?

To make what we are looking for we have to face decisions that are sometimes contradictory and that could bring back to the beggining again. What material allows better convey what we want?. The subject determines the outcome. The Roman or Greek statues carved in pine would otherwise. Let’s review concepts to understand in depth the future sculpture.


Invalid Displayed Gallery

We have to face a lot of things before getting to the issue of how. We must focus on the processes and discovering what we intuit and changing with what we found.

Recall the four Aristotelian causes: the material, formal, efficient and final cause.

The sketch should be primarily a reflection method, flexible enough to allow us to easily make changes while maintaining the ability to keep the essence.


To sketch should always choose the procedure that is more fluid, and allow us to gather more premises of the problem studied, and so do not change when we perform the piece in its material and final size.


We must be clear what we tested. The relationships between the parts and emptiness. Between inner and outer space occupation. We must define the hierarchy of qualities we seek. Knowing what is essential and what is secondary.


Sometimes because we do not need sketches for sculpture reflection must have done the preparatory building plans and templates for carving, but be careful because the plane is son of space … and can not be a father, that is, that the plane is a projection of the spatial part and build through planes can cause errors.




If the process is modeled in clay and then cast in bronze, the changes that can be made from the sketch to the final piece are huge. You can always add more clay or subtract until the bulk of the result we seek.

In the case of stone carving that is not possible. What you took was removed and no longer grows. In Stone there is always time to remove. Take your time. For thus reason, the sketch must enable stakeout the final work and each of the cutting planes that will serve to the next cutting plane support. Hence it is said that the stone carving sculptor should see the result of the final sculpture in the raw stone.



Every form, every need, every result, should be studied, compared, corrected, tested, developed, measured, confronted …





Thirty spokes meet in the hub,
but the empty space between them
is the essence of the wheel.

Pots are formed from clay,
but the empty space within it
is the essence of the pot.

Walls with windows and doors
form the house,
but the empty space within it
is the essence of the home.