playlist

TED Talks to inspire you to make art

Ignite your inner creative with these mesmerizing, colorful and sometimes-curious talks about the world of art (and the artists who make it).

  1. 11:22
    Vanessa Ruiz The spellbinding art of human anatomy

    Vanessa Ruiz takes us on an illustrated journey of human anatomical art over the centuries, sharing captivating images that bring this visual science — and the contemporary artists inspired by it — to life. "Anatomical art has the power to reach far beyond the pages of a medical textbook," she says, "connecting our innermost selves with our bodies through art."

  2. 7:32
    Dustin Yellin A journey through the mind of an artist

    Dustin Yellin makes mesmerizing artwork that tells complex, myth-inspired stories. How did he develop his style? In this disarming talk, he shares the journey of an artist — starting from age 8 — and his idiosyncratic way of thinking and seeing. Follow the path that leads him up to his latest major work (or two).

  3. 5:56
    Kayla Briët Why do I make art? To build time capsules for my heritage

    Kayla Briët creates art that explores identity and self-discovery — and the fear that her culture may someday be forgotten. She shares how she found her creative voice and reclaimed the stories of her Dutch-Indonesian, Chinese and Native American heritage by infusing them into film and music time capsules.

  4. 12:42
    Christoph Niemann You are fluent in this language (and don't even know it)

    Without realizing it, we're fluent in the language of pictures, says illustrator Christoph Niemann. In a charming talk packed with witty, whimsical drawings, Niemann takes us on a hilarious visual tour that shows how artists tap into our emotions and minds — all without words.

  5. 8:29
    Françoise Mouly The stories behind The New Yorker's iconic covers

    Meet Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker's art director. For the past 24 years, she's helped decide what appears on the magazine's famous cover, from the black-on-black depiction of the Twin Towers the week after 9/11 to a recent, Russia-influenced riff on the magazine's mascot, Eustace Tilley. In this visual retrospective, Mouly considers how a simple drawing can cut through the torrent of images that we see every day and elegantly capture the feeling (and the sensibility) of a moment in time.

  6. 5:10
    Wanuri Kahiu Fun, fierce and fantastical African art

    We're so used to narratives out of Africa being about war, poverty and devastation, says TED Fellow Wanuri Kahiu. Where's the fun? Introducing "AfroBubbleGum" — African art that's vibrant, lighthearted and without a political agenda. Rethink the value of all that is unserious as Kahiu explains why we need art that captures the full range of human experiences to tell the stories of Africa.

  7. 9:26
    Janet Echelman Taking imagination seriously

    Janet Echelman found her true voice as an artist when her paints went missing — which forced her to look to an unorthodox new art material. Now she makes billowing, flowing, building-sized sculpture with a surprisingly geeky edge. A transporting 10 minutes of pure creativity.

  8. 10:21
    Nora Atkinson Why art thrives at Burning Man

    Craft curator Nora Atkinson takes us on a trip to Nevada's Black Rock Desert to see the beautifully designed and participatory art of Burning Man, revealing how she discovered there what's often missing from museums: curiosity and engagement. "What is art for in our contemporary world if not this?" she asks.

  9. 12:52
    Titus Kaphar Can art amend history?

    Artist Titus Kaphar makes paintings and sculptures that wrestle with the struggles of the past while speaking to the diversity and advances of the present. In an unforgettable live workshop, Kaphar takes a brush full of white paint to a replica of a 17th-century Frans Hals painting, obscuring parts of the composition and bringing its hidden story into view. There's a narrative coded in art like this, Kaphar says. What happens when we shift our focus and confront unspoken truths?