Behind the Scenes: How Artie Isaac stays creative

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
From the November 15, 2012 edition

Artie Isaac recently proved he is an introvert.

The former advertising agency owner takes the Myers Briggs Test every eight years. The test used to regularly conclude that he was an extrovert. Perhaps that’s because, Isaac said, he answered the questions the way he thought smart people would.

Regardless, introvert is surprising.

Isaac is a consultant on creativity. He flies around the world giving lectures and asking questions that help businesses, communities and individuals devise creative solutions and ideas. Like last year, when he spoke in El Salvador on outside-the-box business practices to 400 coffee farmers.

Teaching — or, perhaps more accurately, inspiring — creativity is a field that’s boomed in the past five years, Isaac said, as more of us perch comfortably atop Maslow’s famous pyramid.

“I teach in a way that is peculiar to me,” Isaac said. “It merges vulnerability with raising the stakes. Vulnerability gets us to the truth.”

Isaac reads a lot; currently, “King Lear.” He’s embarrassed by that, I think, because it sounds a little pretentious. (Contrary. He’s actually kind of self-effacing.) But “I love words,” Isaac said.

Words rule. If they wake him up in the middle of the night, he writes them down no matter what. He writes on whatever he can, once carrying a block of wood around because he ran out of paper.

He meditates for 20 minutes two times a day — 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. He works out, meaning he mostly just pulls on therapy bands while dallying around his house.

He doesn’t watch TV. He acts. He takes a different way home. He plots when he’ll eat his next Klondike Bar.

“I am not anyone’s source of answers,” Isaac said, “but I am anyone’s source of questions.”

The question I posed: How does Artie Isaac stay creative? I think it’s just by being Artie Isaac — creativity as intention. Call it being an Artie-vert.