Agnes Martin.

Wendy Beckett, in her book American Masterpieces, said about Martin: "Agnes Martin often speaks of joy; she sees it as the desired condition of all life. Who would disagree with her?... No-one who has seriously spent time before an Agnes Martin, letting its peace communicate itself, receiving its inexplicable and ineffable happiness, has ever been disappointed. The work awes, not just with its delicacy, but with its vigor, and this power and visual interest is something that has to be experienced. ...Artwork is a representation of our devotion to life," Martin wrote. "The enormous pitfall is devotion to oneself instead of to life. All works that are self-devoted are absolutely ineffective."

Herbert Matter.

Known as a quintessential designer's designer, Swiss born Herbert Matter is largely credited with expanding the use of photography as a design tool and bringing the semantics of fine art into the realm of applied arts. When Matter got the job to design a new logo for the New Haven Railroad he literally went through hundreds of sketches before arriving at the final logo.

A little secret.

It may surprise students to know that at the beginning any given semester I have only a very loose idea of what we will be doing, making and thinking as a class. Somewhere in the intersection of class dynamics and current cultural and social atmosphere, something vibrant always comes into focus. I relate this directly to the creative process on a personal level—patterns of intuitive expression extend out towards the realization of a class, a corporate identity, a sculpture, the composition of a song or a painting—they are actually not that different. Below is a still from the Ray + Charles Eames movie The Powers of Ten.

Now, look at the work of dutch artist Helmut Smits, below. In his work for public spaces he plays with the size of the pixel. Smits imagines the pixel viewed one kilometer from the earth's surface. From this great distance it becomes a dead void, unmeasurable by Google Earth. A pixel missing from our computer screens and PDA's.

How will you change your perspective on what you already know? How can you take concepts and ideas and make them your own or use a current language or medium to truly innovate? Are you doing that already?