Preface: This essay is a response for a class I’m taking this semester, where I had to interview an individual whose creativity and divergent thinking inspires me. Halfway through reporting on Kate, I realized just how blessed I am to call her my friend, and I wanted to share this appreciation with everyone who reads this blog. I have another Personal Development Project reflection coming up, as well as a contemplative piece regarding the alignment of self-perception and first impressions. Anyway, without further ado, Kate Muraski!
Our friendship began in letters and poems, grew in coffeeshops; during photoshoots. We’ve grown on road trips to Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market, the city’s various cafes. The way we grew into friendship with each other was the deciding factor in my decision to choose Kate Muraski as my interviewee. I believed she would have interesting insights regarding the creation and development of ideas, ranging from drawings in cappuccinos to ideas for well-rounded businesses that she was oh so very willing to dedicate stressful months to cultivating.
We met at The Dreamer on October 24th, and after warming up with coffee cups in our hands and words of wisdom spewing from both our mouths for that reason or this reason, we got down to business. Understanding where your own creativity stems from and its nature is incredibly important in helping an individual create a sturdy vision, and so I was naturally curious as to how Kate defined creativity and how hers felt when it was coming to fruition.
“I don’t know that it’s definable.” she stated. “It’s just having your own unique touch on things… Yeah, because I feel creativity means a lot of different things to different people. To me, it’s seems more than a baseline idea and being able to add and take away from it.” Kate defined what she meant when she said ‘baseline’ by giving an example of an idea she offered up in her Entrepreneurship course. The challenge was to come up with a product, and immediately Kate’s mind went to her ‘baseline’ – a water bottle. From that point, she added her appreciation for nature and hiking to her baseline item and “poof;” why not create a water bottle that is constructed with solar panels and can be attached to a phone charger so no one is ever stuck with a dead battery in an emergency situation? Genius.
“It’s pretty organic,” Kate explained when I asked how her creative ideas develop. “it stems from an original idea and blossoms from there. Nothing is set in stone.” Her major, Entrepreneurship, is “based around creating your own things,” and she finds it interesting to discover what makes a good idea a good idea and vice versa.
“I think it’s cool to make something that someone hasn’t made. Even for personal benefit, that would be really cool for me, but then – – why not sell it? Why not enter [one’s art] into a big competition like ArtPrize?” Her focus is on how creativity helps achieve goals, whether they’re for career-related endeavors or just for kic
ks and giggles. Kate’s favorite piece she created actually came out of the ‘kicks and giggles’ category, where she used milk and espresso as a medium. She had asked me if I remembered when she created espresso art in my cappuccino when I came to visit her at work during the summer – which I did – and then she went on to explain how she had learned how to create hearts in espresso-based drinks by watching YouTube videos of people making other designs in their coffee. She played around with different techniques, and all of a sudden, “Oh! That looks like hearts!”
In regards to photography, another medium close to Kate’s espresso-soaked heart, her favorite experience behind the camera came this past spring, when she attended a wedding as an assistant to the hired cameraman. It helped her realize that “it wasn’t so much the photography thing I’m into, but more ‘where do you put the shoes to make a good picture?’” It also led her to realizing that her passion in regards to still photos is in their timing or in editing them to create a certain mood.
In the same vein, film photography falls into the same group titled ‘Art Forms That Muraski is Enamored With,’ though she’s only experienced how the process works through the eyes of a model. She had the chance to pose for film photographer Jacob Bargo after complimenting his work on Instagram, and through watching him shoot, she gained a newfound respect for the time and dedication film requires.
“[Y]ou aren’t just shooting on a camera,” she realized. “you have to stabilize light with an entirely different device, it’s expensive to re-do and to send in the film to have it be a[n awful] picture, which is why it takes a lot of time and a lot of talent. It’s not necessary, but it’s really cool.”
This led us into contemplating her own talents as a creative mind. I wanted to understand what she believes are her strengths and weaknesses in regards to the processes she experiences while developing an idea. She responded by explaining that she’s noticed a talent within herself for “fitting a tone and having a vibe,” which, to stay in accordance with the times, I would have to say is similar to staying true to an aesthetic. Kate also has a knack for keeping the positive aspects of her creative endeavors, while not getting too attached to the portions that could weigh her ideas down.
As an example of this, I played Devil’s Advocate when Kate brought up her technologically savvy water bottle proposition. Of course, the skeptic in me wanted to add, water and electronics don’t traditionally meld together well. . . But, of course, our inventor had already thought of that. I was immediately informed of a protective layer around the solar panels upon the water bottle’s surface that would protect from damage that could be caused by the liquid the owner was consuming, and the detachable charging port would protect from anything unnecessary getting caught on the item and causing irreparable damage.
Okay, Kate. What else can your water bottle do?
Lower the amount of carcinogens that infiltrate into plastic water bottles due to the solar panels covering it, of course. Of course.
With ideas like this, it’s hard to imagine Kate having weaknesses in regards to her creative process. But, as I was informed, it happens.
“Sometimes, [I feel like] people are telling me, ‘Stop being creative! Settle down!’ and I’m like, ‘Wait, why?’” She does admit that “Some ideas are just not feasible and, I don’t know, [I’m] sometimes being over creative.” Kate stated that, though it sounded “mean,” some ideas just don’t have value; that occasionally, the things that are really cool to just do won’t have any impact on future goals, whether kicks-and-giggles-wise or career-related.
The struggle, it was apparent to her, was that sometimes, an idea is brilliant, but “you just kind of have it in your head . . . you don’t know how to further [it].” Maybe your skills aren’t at the point they need to be to carry out certain aspects of your project, or you may lack the money or materials you have to provide. The easy part is when inspiration hits; when “you hear or see something and know you can do something with it. The second it’s in [one’s] head.”
Most of Kate’s descriptions of her inspiration come in forms of figurative speech. Metaphors, similes, and comparisons that center around music. As she spoke about the ideas behind her most recent kicks and giggles project, a blended video and visual art piece featuring a dancer from our high school and an multi-media artist from another, she explained that coming up with the idea for blended mediums was “for instance, like when you think of a cool song and then something that goes with the song and it all blends together.” She realized that hearing songs with specific words normally help her narrow ideas down.
As an individual who has gone to quite a few concerts with Kate, I can confirm that music has an almost drug-induced effect on her in terms of her creativity and freedom of expression. I can clearly remember coming home from a concert at The Pyramid Scheme in downtown Grand Rapids one night and experiencing Kate lying on the tile in my kitchen, giggling her head off and commenting on how the performance was – – both in terms of musicality and technicality. Experiencing live music is inarguably the best release of stress for her in the way that it allows her creativity to flow freely and unhindered by inhibitions.
The music that’s been the most helpful for Kate has been specifically “music that people don’t know,” and it isn’t in the way that is reminiscent of 2010’s ‘underground hipster’ culture. The individuality of the songs help aid in strengthening the individuality of her thoughts, “so when I hear a song on SoundCloud or something, I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s so good.’” Her biggest influence has been Two Door Cinema Club due to the fact that their songs aren’t about “love and drugs” and have a certain depth to them.
The last tidbit of wisdom she left me with was a message for her former self: “Yo, you’re artsy. Not a tomboy. Stop wearing your hair in a ponytail. I don’t know, just don’t be so shy. Don’t worry about how people view your creativity.” Her growth from first writing and meeting her to the point she’s at now is incredibly inspiring, itself, and I couldn’t be prouder or more excited to know that she takes pride in her creativity as well.