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Imagination as a Source of Art

Janet Echelman (2011), in her Ted Talk “Taking imagination seriously,” proposes a new way of interacting with the ordinary things. When she was a teenager, she applied to several art schools but was not accepted to any of them. She decided to study art and sculpture on her own, and it took her ten years before someone noticed her. Her first exhibition had to be in India. Janet Echelman arrived there on time, but her works did not. Walking along the beach, she saw fishermen with their nets. She decided to make the innovative sculptures from this soft and light material. Then she had an installation in Madrid, and it was noticed by a famous urbanist Manual Sola-Morales who invited Janet Echelman to make the same sculpture in Porto (Echelman, 2011). The main difficulty was to find the right material that would not be affected by the wind, rain or the sun. With the help of the designer of yachts for America’s Cup, she implemented this project that had great success.

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Janet Echelman made the installations of soft materials in Historic Philadelphia City Hall, on the Time Square in New York. The main idea of the speech is that beauty is everywhere around (Echelman, 2011). The patterns and habits do not allow people to see the magic in the net or the thread. Once a person forgets about his or her ordinary way of thinking, imagination would reveal an absolutely new world full of wonders and masterpieces.

The video is very motivating and inspires to create something incredible. After watching this speech, it seems that everyone can become an artist. Creativity is not only about talent and perfect education, it is also about the ability to see the magic in the world around, to notice the beauty of nature. By using the imagination, it is possible to find new ways of using traditional things as Janet Echelman did. The human mind is a unique source of innovative ideas and surprising thoughts. It is important to mention that one has to be a very determined, passionate, and brave person to implement his or her conception into life. Creating the ideas is only halfway, the second part is much harder. It is necessary to find the investors, to buy all the materials needed, to gather a team that would help during the process, to calculate the financial expenses. To be an artist in modern society means being not only a creator but a professional manager in the art industry.

The story of Janet Echelman is a perfect illustration of the development path of an artist. It is impossible to become extremely famous and well-known in a couple of months. Global recognition requires years of hard work and practice without rest (Echelman, 2011). What is more, even continuous improvement does not give any guarantee of success. There are many artists, architectures, and scientists that were not understood and accepted by society. Among them are Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci, Franc Kafka, and others. In conclusion, the speech of Janet Echelman is impressive and valuable. It gives the motivation to work harder and to create new innovative pieces of art, and, at the same time, it is a reminder that nothing would happen without an actionable plan and persistence.


Echelman, J. (2011). Taking imagination seriously. TED. Web.

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