Every artist has their muse. The idea of the muse is often romanticised as an actual person, but it can equally be a place or landscape, an idea or point of view.
Whatever the source, the artist’s muse exists to feed creativity and to inspire great work.
In any industry - and particularly in the creative industries of advertising and marketing - inspiration is key.
In order to produce work that is creative or innovative, we need to feel inspired, and we often need to look beyond the confines of our own industries to find the inspiration we need.
Working in PR for a wide range of advertising and media clients, we’re always looking for that interesting angle, that creative edge that will generate the best coverage for our clients.
This often means thinking in different ways and questioning our own assumptions - looking at things from a different point of view to get a fresh perspective.
Each of our clients finds inspiration in their own way, and we were lucky enough to be invited to join one of our newer clients - Arena Media - at one of their regular inspirational speaker evenings.
Each quarter Arena brings in an inspirational outsider to encourage staff to open their minds to different ways of thinking and refresh their own points of view.
The talks aren’t delivered as a lecture; instead they are a sort of snapshot into the life or career of an inspiring person, a glimpse of a different existence.
There is never an obvious message, just a broader idea, and the speakers come from all walks and rambles and strolls of life.
Last week Arena invited Chris Hughes, Security Correspondent at the Mirror, to speak to the agency. Chris’s talk showed the cluster of Arena listeners that the path of a war reporter never did run smooth.
Coming from a background in showbiz journalism, where Chris worked under Piers Morgan and spent his time delivering scoops on celebrities, he moved into the world of news, then conflict journalism later in his career.
With humbling self-deprecation and stoic candour, Chris spoke of the places he’d been, the things he’d seen and the stories he’d uncovered.
Articulating the horrors of the frontline in Iraq and Afghanistan to an audience at home through his journalism, Chris spoke of the importance of telling the stories of war, and coolly described being in Baghdad as "a real eye-opener".
During question time a sea of hands sprung into the air. One man asked why Chris had chosen to pursue what he saw as a pretty morbid career, particularly compared with our own "media bubble". Chris laughed at the question, and responded with typical breezy frankness.
He explained that, besides believing in the importance of telling the truth about war, in honesty he was initially drawn to conflict journalism because he thought it would be exciting. "After all, there’s nothing like being shot at and surviving," he said, citing Winston Churchill.
Reporting from the epicentre of some of the world’s most violent conflict zones would undoubtedly alter anyone’s perspective, but it was interesting to contemplate that all of our experiences - however big or small - influence our points of view, and can offer inspiration.
Listening to Chris was itself an eye opener, not just to differing perspectives, but also in helping us to understand ourselves.
As an industry we talk about creativity, inspiration and innovation, but time constraints and workloads conspire to make us increasingly inward-looking.
Chris’s inspirational talk at Arena injected a new energy and enthusiasm into the listeners, serving as a powerful reminder of the value of finding fresh perspectives - and inspiration - everywhere we can.