The Art of Oops: Celebrating Mistakes and Embracing Creativity with Erik Kessels

2 min read

In "Failed It," Erik Kessels delivers a refreshing perspective on creativity by celebrating imperfection and embracing failure as essential components of the creative journey. This book takes a fun and fabulous approach to the art of making mistakes, challenging the fear of failure that often inhibits creative exploration. 

Kessels showcases a diverse array of examples from photography, art, design, architecture, and more, illustrating how mistakes can lead to unexpected and innovative outcomes. With over 150 visual examples sourced from his personal collection and beyond, we are treated to a lively and humorous exploration of the power of failure. 

What impacted us are these two points: The tyranny of perfection:

  1. Do this. Don’t do that. Concentrate on this. Ignore that. Work longer. Work harder. Striving for perfection will make you uncomfortable. It will make you feel like s**t about your own mistakes. Let us share this quote with you: “We are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it…In the process we will catch excellence.” By Vince Lombardi (NFL football coach). Perfection is the enemy of the good. Free yourself from the tyranny of perfection!
  2. Keep it simple: Of the many bad traits that plague those of us in the creative world, one of the most damaging is the desire to overcomplicate things. Call it material, ego, perfection… just KISS (Keep it simple, Stupid).

What sets "Failed It" apart is its blend of practical advice, anecdotes, and wisdom, interspersed with vibrant visuals and engaging text. Kessels encourages us to embrace failure not as something to be ashamed of, but as a catalyst for growth and experimentation. By sharing his own experiences and insights, Kessels demystifies the creative process and encourages us to take risks and explore new possibilities.

One of the book's most compelling aspects is Kessels' metaphor of the creative journey as a road trip, where taking wrong turns and getting lost can lead to unexpected discoveries. This metaphor encapsulates the book's central message: that failure is not the end but rather a detour that can lead to unforeseen opportunities and insights.

Overall, "Failed It" is a thought-provoking and inspiring read that celebrates the messy, unpredictable nature of creativity. Whether you're a seasoned creative professional or someone just starting out on their creative journey, this book offers valuable insights and encouragement to embrace failure as a natural and necessary part of the creative process.


So, let go of perfectionism and embrace the beauty of imperfection. Take risks, make mistakes, and unleash your creativity in new and exciting ways.


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