What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close
With rendition switcher

Transcript

Question: What is the best advice you ever received?

McGinness:    This sounds like a cop out but maybe it’s the fact that I never really received a lot of advice, for instance, my parents never stirred me in any one direction and always allowed me to choose my own path and then gave me… I wanted to say my parents gave me permission because they instilled in me that I didn’t even need permission from anybody and again, they never really pushed me to do any one thing.  As difficult as that was for parents who have kids who are artists, you know, they want some kind of stability for your kids I guess, so there’s always some anxiety I think.  But the fact that they never really pushed me or even really kind of gave me advice maybe I don’t know, in some ways, that’s the best advice to not give advice?  I don’t know, that’s really the answer. 

Question: Do you advocate artistic freedom for everyone?

McGinness:    I think a lot of young people in any field are seeking that permission, you know, whether it’s from a gallery and invitation to do a show, permission for… to be just making your work because you need to make it and then figure out how to share it with it and that means putting on your own show or whatever, it’s… yeah, you just don’t need permission from anybody to do anything you want.  And actually, I think really understanding that for me was a bit of a breakthrough.  At the end of the ‘90s, I moved to New York, again, I moved to New York in 1994 and I just come out of this design program and I had to make money of course so I did a lot of things in the music industry, posters and fliers and music packaging and singles and 12 inches and greatly covered cover design and also a lot of logos and icons.  While I was still making paintings and I was pursuing both in parallel and I would have, of course, friends and people to the studio who would see all of these things that I’ve been making and respond very positively to the more kind of design work or design oriented work which for me was always kind for other people is a way I could just, you know, make money so that I could make paintings but my painting pursuit was based on my desire to make art and make things that look like art.  And so the breakthrough for me came when I realized that I should just try to make art and just make what I wanted to make regardless of how it would be received or perceived and so I started to paint the icons I was drawing and furthermore, draw icons for myself not for anybody and draw icons that would reflect and communicate things I wanted to share and sentiments that I wanted to share in concepts that I wanted to communicate and to use that aesthetic that has traditionally been in the context of graphic design made by anonymous people on behalf of corporations, to incorporate that into a fine art context and aesthetic and material was… and to realize that’s okay even if nobody has even done it before and they’ve never seen it, to realize that I didn’t need permission, that was the breakthrough for me.

 

Ryan McGinness on Ultimate ...

Newsletter: Share: