MIT artist speaks on creativity

A fluke accident can change your life in a blink of an eye, said Arthur Ganson, a self-described inventor, choreographer and mechanical engineer, during his visit to the USF Fine Arts-Humanities Building on Thursday night.

Ganson, an artist-in-residency from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, spoke about his artistic ideas and the process of creating those ideas during a lecture.

said Ganson, referring to his life as an artist.

Ganson also spoke to both engineering and art classes on campus throughout Wednesday and Thursday.

From early on, Ganson said he had a desire to work with his hands and said he felt deeply connected with their energy; so he pursued medical school and took art classes simultaneously.

“Art courses slowly opened up my world of focus and attention to detail,” Ganson said.

While at the University of New Hampshire, Ganson was assigned an art project where he had to make a machine from wire. During the construction process, Ganson said that he unconsciously brought together all his interests while connecting with the physical act of making things. This accident, Ganson said, shaped his passion and career.

His work is described as an intersection of engineering and art. According to Ganson, all his machines start as simple ideas in his mind.

“I start from one place and let it build and grow. This is as close as I can get to oil painting or drawing,” said Ganson. “Most machines in our lives are utilitarian objects that are useful. For me, useful is problem solving to the next step. I feed into a creative process in an unconscious way.”

Ganson described his work as improvisational. At times, he has no idea where the work will lead him, but most often it is a thought between ambiguity and clarity, he said.

“My goal, a lot of times, is to try and make objects as clear and simple in my mind as well as ambiguous. It leaves something up to the viewer,” Ganson said.

Several of the art and engineering pieces he shared incorporated movement. “Everyone has their own personal sense of gesture, but I become obsessed with slow motion and unfolding of a beautiful event. I like to bring meaning to inanimate objects,” Ganson said.

He also said he likes to think of his mechanisms as puppeteers and the objects they trigger as the puppets, where his work becomes seamless and functioning becomes integrated unconsciously.

Ganson added everything he builds is a kind of prototype and that he is always thinking about ways to make it better.

“I spend so much time in solitude at my studio creating and then I bring my work out into the world,” Ganson said.