Innovation and creativity are sought after traits in the startup community, but nurturing and encouraging those qualities in the next generation in an era focused on STEM and standardized testing can be difficult. Nathan Heck addresses that challenge through his web series Artrageous with Nate
“Creativity happens everywhere,” Heck said. “You don't have to be a painter to be creative. I want to change the conversation about innovation and look at it in the world, outside of siloed school subjects.”
The web series, available on YouTube and PBS Digital, takes a multi-disciplinary approach, exploring a different artist, style, or subject in each episode. The art historical cannon is well represented, but with a twist.
“Our episode on Michelangelo looked at his art, but also pulled back the curtain on what was happening at the time that allowed (artists) to be so creative and innovative,” Heck said.
Artrageous with Nate
also tackles subjects that might not be considered art, including episodes on design and engineering at Delta Faucet, microscopic views of kidney cells, and the process of developing a roller coaster at an amusement park. Heck explores the intersection of science, engineering, history, and art.
For historical figures, episodes focus on little known biographic facts, like the name of their dog, to make them relatable as people.
“These artists were rebels who made their own path,” Heck said. “Some died in poverty. Some never sold anything. Yet today they’re world famous.”
Heck also interviews contemporary artists to talk about their process, and for those working in non-traditional art environments, how their creativity fits in with their colleagues who are scientists and engineers. Each episode ends with a hands-on activity inspired by the subject.
“I am all about the process, not the finished product,” Heck said. “Art materials are expensive, so I try to come up with things people can make with what they have handy.”
Heck collaborates with museums, including the Cincinnati Art Museum
(CAM) , on his program. He has filmed three episodes at CAM featuring the Damascus Room, a dress by Issey Miyake, and a portrait by Gainsborough.
His most recent partnership, with the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City, will create an app for museum users. Heck is also working to bring Artrageous
to the Curiosity network, a spinoff of the Discovery Channel.
Heck will talk about his methods for encouraging creativity at the 2016 Day of Innovation
conference at Butler University on Oct. 13.
“I love talking to business people about art and creativity,” Heck said. “It's important they understand creativity, what happens in the brain when you're being creative, and how broad creativity is. I want everyone to walk out thinking about how they are creative and innovative.”
The event is familiar to Heck. Artrageous with Nate
won an Indiana Innovation Award at the 2014 conference.
“Nate's program impressed our judges with its very unique and fun approach and the show's combination of art, history and creativity,” said Jason Williams, executive director of Centric. “Nate is taking a lot of interesting material and making it more approachable. Artrageous
is passionate about inspiring creativity inside and outside of the art studio.”
“We focus so much on measurable results,” Heck said. “But the things you can’t measure are what makes people unique and creative. If we lose creativity, we lose innovation.”
Those attending his session at the Day of Innovation should be ready to explore their creative side.
“I love to have fun with big, massive art projects,” said Heck. “So I’m planning something that everyone can do, but it won’t be too messy since it’s a conference after all.”