Over the holidays I watched the documentary "Sketches of Frank Gehry" and it's excellent (you can watch the trailer here). I'm a fan of his architecture, but what's interesting about this film is his openness and lack of ego. There are some great sections talking about his creative process.
"I don't know what you do when you start, but I clean my desk, I make a lot of stupid appointments that I make sound important. Avoidance, delay, denial. I'm always scared that I'm not going to know what to do. It's a terrifying moment. And then when I start, I'm always amazed: oh, that wasn't so bad."
There's a lot about the relationship between creativity and the clients who are paying for it. I think my favourite moment is when he tells the story of how he decided to start taking more risks. He'd been working on a really bland shopping mall, but at the same time was designing a bold, avant-garde house for himself.
"At the same time as I did this house, I was building Santa Monica Place. The night Santa Monica Place opened, we had a dinner here with the president of the company... and he says to me "what the hell is this?"
I said "well, I was experimenting and playing with it."
And he said "do you like it? ...you must like it."
I said "I do."
He said "well if you like this, you can't possibly like that" and he pointed over there towards Santa Monica Place.
And I said "you're right, I don't." And he says "so, why'd you do it?" And I said "because I had to make a living."
And he said "Stop it. You should stop it. Don't do that."
And I said "you're right."
Now at that moment, 45 people in my office were working on a project for him. And he and I shook hands that night and decided to quit everything. It was like jumping off a cliff. It was an amazing feeling. And I was so happy from then on."