Inspire, develop & celebrate creativity

Saúl Bass “Why Man Creates”

The New York Times called him “the minimalist auteur who put a jagged arm in motion in 1955 and created an entire film genre… and elevated it into art.”

“Interesting things happen when the creative impulse is cultivated with curiosity…”

The question of why man taps into his creative genius is one that is as old as time itself. Artist turned producer Saúl Bass explores this question in his Oscar winning feature short, “Why Man Creates”, the film explores the creative process and takes a philosophical look at how man comes to derive meaning from his ability to create. This film is a must-see for anyone looking to delve into the inner-workings of the creative mind and get a glimpse of just how this process works.

The pencil and the stick

It is no mistake that Bass uses pencil to inscribe the titles of each chapter before launching into the story. This pencilled-in work is symbolic of the steps we must take in order to create. He sketches and plans, erases and starts again. The process is full of fits and starts and there will be many revisions before the abstract becomes concrete.

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Historical significance and themes

Bass infuses historical significance to each of his chapters, from medieval times to the present, capturing the essence of philosophical thought during each period. Bass seems to imply that the need to create is part of the very essence of our existence, and if we stop creating, we cease to live. This powerful theme is repeated throughout the film, and the author allows the viewer to ask this existential question and form his own conclusion.

Saúl Bass has challenged the viewer to dig deeper into the human mind with his work, “Why Man Creates.” The answer to that question, however, is entirely up to you.

Bonus Saúl Bass 1 minute advice to design students: Learn to draw.

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