A few years ago, the New York Times published an article titled, “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love.” This list of 36 questions begins broadly and increasingly becomes more personal, fostering vulnerability between partners. The original research was conducted by psychologist Arthur Aron at Stony Brook University. He split participants up into two groups. One group was divided into pairs who small-talked with each other for 45 minutes. The other group was split into pairs and received a list of 36 questions. By moving through these sets of specific questions (each set of questions encourages more openness and vulnerability), this allowed each person to be more fully seen by their partner, resulting in a more authentic and deeper connection.
I’ve answered these 36 questions with long-time friends in the past, and each time it’s a beautiful experience that allows me to see them in a much deeper and intimate level. (It’s not just useful for romantic relationships!)
Back in January, my friend Prasun (who happens to be a musician, songwriter, engineer, artist, and all-around creative) and I re-wrote our own set of questions. 36 questions for CREATIVES. We’re compiling answers, so if you feel inspired to leave your feedback on any (or all!) of them, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave them in the comments below.
36 QUESTIONS FOR CREATIVES
If you could collaborate with any artist on a project, who would be it? Why?
What is your earliest memory of making something that you were proud of?
When did you first experience Imposter Syndrome?
What are things, people, or places that fill your creative well?
Describe your ideal day as a creative.
How do you define success?
How have you changed as an artist in the past five years?
If you were to be remembered by only one piece/work of yours, what would you choose and why?
What advice would you give your younger artist self?
Do you have certain rituals that help you enter into a flow state?
Who are three artists that have influenced you and your work the most?
If you were stuck on a deserted island with only one medium to create with, what would it be?
What was your childhood like? How did your environment growing up influence your art and creative process?
What colors would symbolize your last 3 years as an artist? Perhaps pick a color for each of those years.
What are some books that have influenced your work?
How has social media affected your work and your creative process?
What emotional state do you find is the catalyst for your most creative work?
How do you prevent distractions?
Describe your working environment. What would be your most ideal environment for creating your art?
How has your work changed in the last year?
How have you changed in the last year?
How do you overcome the Resistance?
How do you handle the naysayers/the haters? How do you protect yourself from criticism that does not enhance your work?
Who do you most trust to critique your work? Do you have a trusted group?
What is the most useful $100 purchase that has helped/enhanced your art/process?
What are some ways you invest in your own growth?
Whose work did you study when you were starting out in your craft?
How do you know when you are done with a piece?
Your studio is on fire! You can only save one piece. Which one do you choose and why?
What was the most painful experience in your life? What art did you create from this experience?
Do you experience creative blocks? How do you work through them?
What is one piece of advice you’d share with your younger artist self?
Alternate sharing positive attributes on your partner’s creative work. What do you admire about their work?
What does being a creative mean to you?
Take a few minutes and share your artistic journey with your partner.
What are you most excited about creating in this coming year?