Viability by Italo Calvino takes a look into what imagination is. Calvino starts out by discussing Dante's reasoning for imagination. He then goes on to explain the two different ways people can use their imagination: starting with an image and creating words for it and recognizing a word and what image goes with it.
As Calvino goes on, he begins to question whether these images are from things we've seen before, or are completely imagined. I think that the images that come to mind are mostly things we have seen or experienced before. I do believe that some people can just create a new image in their mind on the spot, but I don't think many people are able to do so.
I think that imagination is a powerful tool because it is the way people envision life. For example, when someone says the word 'cat' to two different people, they could have two different images in their head. These images are shaped by people's everyday experiences.
Imagination has a lot to do with how we see art. The way someone sees art is a lot like his or her own imagination, everyone sees something different.