Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment

On Creativity

Frank Gehry

Lesson time 8:12 min

Frank is considered one of the most creative and expressive architects in the world. In this chapter, he’ll share why it’s important to develop your own creative signature and how to embrace the creative insecurity you will inevitably experience.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Finding your creative signature • Managing healthy insecurity • Finding creativity everywhere • Dealing with negativity


When I talk to students, there's two things I advise them. One is to be themselves. And I talk about writing your signature. That if you write a signature, and your colleague writes your signature, you can recognize yours, and they can recognize theirs. There is a you that is different from him or her. And it's worth pursuing because that's where you're the strongest, and so on. And that plus making sure that everything you do, no matter how small, is the best you can possibly do. It's a small thing. It's about two inches long and a half inch high or something. But in that little act of drawing that name, you reveal yourself. It happens automatically. You don't think about it, usually. I mean, people contrive their signatures and all kinds of stuff like that, eventually. Get ego involved and what it looks like. But I'm talking about generally. And that difference is you. And so how did you feel when you wrote it? You didn't think about it. That's a prime example of a visual impact of your own persona. So when you take that to do with designing a building or a teapot or a light bulb or whatever things you're going to do, that persona is still in-- if you let it be, if you don't self-consciously legislate it out, which some people do because they're embarrassed by it and have difficulties and feel insecure because some parent or some wayward schoolteacher tells you you can't do that. You're not allowed to be that person. You're not allowed to be yourself. You're not allowed. You're here to do x; reading, writing, and arithmetic, and you've got to do it this way. No you don't. And no, you shouldn't. And you should enjoy finding yourself, and you should enjoy expressing yourself and being secure in it. They can reject you, and they will. Believe me, they will. And you've got to just keep doing it. I believe that having a healthy insecurity is crucial to doing the kind of work I want to do. I've compared notes with actors, musicians, composers, and see the same. My friend, Esa-Pekka Salonen is an incredible composer, and he suffers so much from it. Sometimes we have to go out and have a drink and cry in each other's beer. I think that comes with the territory. I don't think it's a negative thing. I think it's something we feel comfortable with. And if it isn't there, we don't feel comfortable. As soon as I feel too secure about something, I know I'm on the wrong track. And that's hard to do. And people don't believe it. Because you get all this notoriety for doing stuff, which has happened to me a little bit, and it's hard for them to understand you're not-- or I'm not, and I know a lot of my friends aren't-- that that insecurity is there always. And we rely on it. I rely on it. It keeps me motivated to keep doing stuff, and I don't dismiss it. I used to volunteer...

About the Instructor

At 19 years old, Frank Gehry was a truck driver taking sculpture classes at night school. His vision for what architecture could accomplish went on to reshape our cities’ skylines and the imaginations of artists and designers around the world. In his online architecture class, this master builder invites you into his never-before-seen model archive for a look into his creative process.

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Frank Gehry

In 17 lessons, Frank teaches his unconventional philosophy on architecture, design, and art.

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