Using Limitations to Spark Creativity

Our ability to create is the most powerful tool we have… Limitations may be the most unlikely places to harness creativity, but can help get us out of ruts and challenge ourselves. You may notice students who face roadblocks and want to quit: quit art class, quit working on a project, or even worse, quit school. This short video of contemporary artist Phil Hansen will hopefully inspire them to see beyond the limitations in front of them and keep creating!

Phil will actually be speaking at NAEA in San Diego this March. I can’t wait to see him. AOE will be at NAEA, too – we will let you know more details on that very soon! See you there!

What is one example of how limitations have helped you or a student foster creativity? 

How to you keep motivating students when they want to quit?


Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Sedi DeVoe

    I love this video! I have been showing it to my Middle School classes just this week!! I’m really trying to drive home the idea that just because they have an idea of how something should turn out in the end, doesn’t mean everyone who is viewing it does. Throw away preconceived ideas of what the end result should be and be in the moment of making the art.

  • Jayme

    “Embrace the Shake!” This would be so cool to show young high schoolers in art class who feel they aren’t good enough, or they aren’t good artists. “Seize the limitations” and make the best of what you got. A great lesson in art and in life.

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