Kevin Briggs Photography

Intuition

Kevin Briggs

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” — Albert Einstein

Many an artist — whether painter, sculptor, composer, photographer, writer, actor or director, to name just a few — has credited intuition as being a powerful force, or even the driving force, behind their art.

I plead guilty to the same credence. It is simply impossible for me to explicate with any fundamental adequacy, let alone comprehensiveness, exactly what it is that constitutes the catalyst for the decision-making processes that lead to one of my photographic fine art works or my color abstract photography pieces.

In my humble opinion, the best explanation of intuition — albeit an indirect explanation — is a statement made by Pablo Picasso, one I have highlighted on more than one occasion: “I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.” How does this constitute an explanation of intuition? Because it highlights the impetus by which Picasso and all artists create. 

In my case, both the initial idea and the drive to form the idea into something else is that which constitutes the intuitive process.

The same fundamental idea was professed by Trinidadian Nobel Prize-winning writer V. S. Naipaul when he noted, “I have trusted to my intuition to find the subjects, and I have written intuitively. I have an idea when I start, I have a shape; but I will fully understand what I have written only after some years.”

Like all my color abstract photography fine art works, Intuition not only started out as a singular and particular conception and then eventually became something different, it did so quite gradually and over an extended period of time. Throughout each and every aspect of the development phase, as it were, the quiddity of intuition was leading and guiding the whole way.

Angela Ahrendts is Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple Inc. Of intuition, Ahrendts has observed that “[it] is the wisdom formed by feeling and instinct — a gift of knowing without reasoning... Belief is ignited by hope and supported by facts and evidence — it builds alignment and creates confidence. Belief is what sets energy in motion and creates the success that breeds more success.”

Intuition, therefore, is something which literally feeds on itself, pushing the creator to increasingly gain momentum as they strictly adhere to intuition’s guiding structure. Or as British journalist, writer and publisher Holbrook Jackson famously observed, “Intuition is reason in a hurry.” 

“Intuition is the key to everything, in painting, filmmaking, business — everything. I think you could have an intellectual ability, but if you can sharpen your intuition, which they say is emotion and intellect joining together, then a knowingness occurs.” So said filmmaker David Lynch.

Early 20th century and pioneering French surgeon Alexis Carrel credited intuition with empowering him to make groundbreaking gains in the fields of medicine and biology. “Intuition comes very close to clairvoyance; it appears to be the extrasensory perception of reality.”

And speaking of the sciences, Jonas Salk said of intuition: “It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely on it. It’s my partner.”

It is axiomatic that without intuition, I would be incapable of producing any fine art — period.

I close with a scholarly observation, one which was elucidated by psychologist Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman is internationally renowned for his work on the psychology of judgment and decision-making, as well as behavioral economics (in 2002, Kahneman was awarded the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences): “Many ideas happen to us. We have intuition, we have feeling, we have emotion, all of that happens, we don’t decide to do it. We don't control it.” (Emphasis added.)

Intuition is the incitation of art itself.