As an art student, ideas are very important to me. I have a lot of them. They float into my head at the strangest moments, while driving, at Zumba, while cycling around town and on the edge of sleep at 3am. Some are good, but most are not. I think if they were all good then I’d be overwhelmed. I’m glad that most are not. I haven’t got the time!
At 4.40am this morning I woke up and went to the toilet. While I was there, I started thinking about those 3am ideas that we all get and how they seem brilliant at 3am but shrivel up and die in the light of day. Why is that?
I don’t think I’ve had any life-changing 3am ideas: I could fill a wall in detailed post-it note drawings! How about making a giant sculpture out of ketchup bottles? Or I should cover a floor with sand and get people to draw with their feet in it. I could make a video starting my cat and call it ‘a day in the life of my cat’.
I’ve had a lot of 3am ideas that seemed life-changing at the time, but I think that more times than not I’ve dismissed them in the morning as fantastical. Not everyone shares my view. On googling ‘middle of the night ideas’ the Internet spews up many websites encouraging ways to harness these creative surges.
Picasso, famously, would sleep sitting up with a spoon in his mouth to try to trap those half-awake half-sleep ideas. He was a firm believer in their originality. The hope was that as his brain slipped from near sleep to sleep the spoon would fall out of his mouth and wake him up and he’d leap in the air, exclaim ‘aha!’ and head to a blank canvas.
I don’t think I want to try this, especially given that I don’t have a lot of faith in my ability to come up with good ideas in a semi-conscious state (my Zumba ideas are much better). And anyway, sleep is ace, why disrupt it?