A couple of months ago my partner and I were lucky enough to take a trip of a lifetime to Japan and travel with our two young boys. On the very first day we took them to Disneyland, Tokyo. I hadn’t been since I was a kid (albeit to the one in Florida) and I thought it would be an incredible adventure for my two. It therefore completely took me by surprise when I became the biggest kid of all and the magic ended up staying with me far longer after we left.
Disneyland is the most magical place on earth because, as an adult, it unlocks our inner child and all our accompanying dreams. For one day we get to see the world as a child – filter less and truly expansive. Although kids are completely unaware of it, they naturally embrace being in the moment, not caring what is real and what could happen because in their heads everything is possible. That elephant flying through the air, it’s real! They don't have the experience yet to know what is logical so their imagination is limitless. As a designer, this was an amazing experience for me too and it got me thinking...
As an adult, how can I recreate this feeling of freedom and an insatiable need for my brain to use all its creative networks? How can I reroute away from the old memory banks to fresh limitless places in order to conjure up new ideas?
A few days later we visited an exhibition of one of my favourite artists, Yayoi Kusama. If you don't know her name, you'll most probably have seen her work. The most notable, her giant spotty pumpkins and infamous infinity rooms dotted all over the globe. Immersed in the most beautiful zen leafy surroundings, the quaint little gallery came complete with tatami mats and a no shoes rule. Normal service resumed for the kids, running around wide eyed and taking everything in while I found all the same feelings rushing back - that sense of everything clicking in my brain and those deep-rooted muscles all awakening. This was my Disneyland! A place I could just feed myself with creativity and where I felt I could achieve anything. Not just creatively for work but, equally importantly, for the needs of my soul. Cue my lightbulb moment.
Upon our return, and with the most perfect timing ever, Kusama launched a rare London exhibition. We went two weeks later and, although it wasn’t Japan, those gallery walls unlocked something inside me again and released my ‘Disneyland’ state of mind. My sense of discovery heightened. Everything I saw was new, which in turn triggered responses in my brain I never knew were there. I left feeling totally satisfied, completely inspired and ready to take on the world in all facets of life.
I have always loved visiting galleries and since having children it has felt completely natural to bring them along for the ride too. One of the main reasons, I know our time living in London won’t last forever. I want to make the most of it and pass on this want/need to feed their brains with art. But for me, I now know why I feel so rejuvenated and fulfilled after one of our days out. It gives me that kick of energy to finish off the week with a twist and not traipse through life as if it was a chore.
So if you need to think outside the box, I highly recommend losing a little control and going to an art gallery. Take yourself away from your day to day life and see where your imagination takes you. It is so good for the soul. After a visit you’ll find it easier to stretch your imagination, let go and bring back that sense of play we enjoyed as children where everything is fun, and creativity is easier.
Your imagination can be limitless… if you let it!