Updated: Jun 15, 2021
What is Cross Pollination?
Cross-pollination occurs when the pollen of one type of plant makes its way to another in the same space.
This can only occur if there is some contact between the plants, such as the wind carrying the pollen over, or a bee, moth or butterfly carries the pollen from flower to flower.
When cross-pollination occurs, it can create unusual varieties of fruit, which then becomes a new variety of the plant, sharing characteristics from both parent plants.
How Does Cross Pollination Relate to Creativity?
We can become stale guitar players from drawing the majority of our inspiration from other guitar players in the same way that living things become “inbred”, by only reproducing from similar genetic material.
For example, watching Steve Vai shred may inspire you to pick up a guitar and try your hand at some wild whammy work or intricate passages, but in a way, you are being inspired from someone else’s creativity within the same sphere, in this case, a guitar player being inspired by another guitar player.
Creation of music, or any art, should give one the feeling of freedom and extension.
Cross pollination between creative skills and experiences can encourage our own creative fruits to be interesting, unique, and flavourful in a way that “regular” pollination might not.
To avoid this tendency to become stale, we can “cross pollinate” from other disciplines to find inspiration - and then bring it home into our own.
So how can we get some new “genetic” material into the womb of our creation and produce our own unusual fruits?
Almost everyone has a cheap paint set around the house or can easily afford one. You do not have to produce great works of art, you do not have to make anything unique or special. No one even ever has to see it! Look at the way the paint responds to your touch. Look at the qualities of the pigment and the texture. How can we bring some of that perception into our musical pursuits?
Again, NO ONE HAS TO SEE! Put on something that your musical geek friends might cringe at, but that YOU secretly love. Feel the music, throw your arms around. Allow yourself to experience some freedom and even euphoria. Jump, spin, laugh at yourself. Remember that being a creative person is supposed to be a fun experience!
Listen to Something Totally New:
When I say new, I mean something completely out of your element. If you are really into metal, go through some old country or rap top 10 lists on Spotify. Again, NO ONE has to know. It’ll be our secret. You might be surprised at how brilliance can shine through to you even in genres you felt you hated or thought had no redeeming qualities.
Get Out of Your Element:
Spend a lot of time inside? Get outdoors, listen to some birds, run your hands through the grass.
Spend a lot of time outside? Curl up at home with a book or a journal.
Homebody? Go to the club and make friends with some strangers.
Variety in your experience will help provide variety to your work.
Experience the Great Artists:
Who are the best musicians, artists, and dancers of all time? What has stayed popular for years, decades, or centuries? Take a little time to appreciate the tones and textures of great vocalists and violinists or dazzling twists of dancers that you might have heard of but have never truly heard.
Know and learn through watching them that your own possibilities are also endless.
Experience the Worst Artists:
Find your friend’s little brother’s Soundcloud rap. Listen to “Friday” By Rebecca Black.
Laugh a little, and take solace in the fact that no matter anyone else’s opinion, statistically it’s almost impossible for you to ever be the best or the worst at anything.
So have fun, play and dance like no one is watching ~
There are so many ways to bring in new and diverse art and inspiration into your works and life.
Hopefully you feel inspired to try out something new and enjoy the nuance you can bring back home with you.
What are your techniques for finding fresh inspiration? Let us know below.