Monday, February 23, 2009

Thoughts on Creativity

The ever delightful Ricë has been running a new series of artist’s answers to the basic questions:

1. What is creativity?
2. Where does it come from?
3. What can people do to access it and make the most of it in their lives?

Since I have a little time before I have to return to the madness that is work during Mardi Gras, I thought I’d give answering those questions a shot.

1. What is creativity?
An innate desire to change our surroundings, to put our own stamp on things, to tell our stories. From our ancestors painting on cave walls to painting our walls something other than white, from fashioning rudimentary clothing from animal hides to dressing like Cyndi Lauper, from the first person to say "Hey, this weed smells pretty good, I think I'll throw some in the stewpot" to making smiley faces in pancakes, it's our desire to make our world our own.

2. Where does it come from?
It's a force inside of us, something we are born with. The desire, the force to create is stronger in some than others. Some just like to have small touches of creativity in their lives while others like to have it pour out as if a dam burst.

3. What can people do to access it and make the most of it in their lives? You just need to let go of perfection and fear of screwing up. Don't be afraid of the white page, the blank canvas, or to cut the fabric. It's not that special and if you screw it up, they'll make more. I promise. Even if that piece of fabric was woven with hairs from sacred goats by isolated monks in Tibet, honestly - it's just fabric. Experiment. Go outside your comfort zone. Try something safe and easy to build skills and confidence. Then try something you think you can't do. You'll be amazed. Sure, we all want our creative pursuits to turn out great but sometimes they don't. If you never mess up, you miss invaluable opportunities to learn. Think of how many wonderful discoveries have happened because of mistakes.
People also need to realize that creativity comes in many forms. It's not just the ability to make pretty marks on paper or canvas, sewing or stitching, making a form in clay, etc. Planning a garden, cooking, arranging your living space - creativity exists in all aspects of everyday life. A key to being happy with your creative pursuits and continue to grow creatively is to know yourself. What do YOU like? A you drawn to small and dainty or big and bold? What screams "This is ME!"? If you are trying things just because everyone else is doing it but it's not "you", change it until it is YOU.

Just my two cents worth.

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