Major Changes 2: Creative Gifts

About this Series: I live in Morristown, New Jersey. Many iconic, historic, cultural and revolutionary changes have somehow been associated with this town. This series highlights a few of them, connecting the dots between those events and major changes in your world…and in everyone’s day-to-day lives.

Santa Claus was born here.
Also, the Republican party’s elephant mascot was born here…and the Democratic donkey and Uncle Sam and Columbia, the female personification of American values, all got cosmetic surgery here.

That is to say, a few blocks from my home is Thomas Nast‘s house. Nast is the late 19th century illustrator/caricaturist, who is considered to be the Father of the American Cartoon. He gave us the modern-day Coca-Cola-looking image of Santa Claus (…OK, technically Santa was born in Turkey or Germany or the North Pole or elsewhere…work with me…) as well as those other images.

Nast developed his skills the hard way — drawing live Civil War battle scenes. President Lincoln called him “our best recruiting sergeant” for the impact of those illustrations.

One of things he’s best known for is his stand against political corruption in New York City. Boss Tweed ran much of the corruption within the city and Nast’s cartoons went after him so mercilessly that, in 1871, Tweed offered him $500,000 to go away. ($9.7 million today.) Nast refused. He used his creative spark to take a stand. Boss Tweed and his cronies were soon ousted and convicted of fraud due, in large part, to Nast’s creative passions and values. 

If a creative spark burns within you, how are you using it to make a difference? Are you taking a stand for something?

That’s the point of this post. Creativity is a gift given to you. What are you doing to pay that gift forward? 

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