Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Inside Creativity, Volume One

I admit it.  I'm creative.

I've spent most of my life making one thing or another.  I've also spent a great deal of time watching or helping other people make things.  Despite those efforts, I don't really feel like I have a full understanding of creativity.  When I paint, I sit toiling away - my brush and my mind working furiously to make something that will become more than paint and empty space.  Something with value.  Something with worth.  I understand that creativity is about seeing options.  It's about problem solving and considering multiple outcomes.  It's about following that process to an end result.  It's about ending up with a product. It's about making something.  I know that.
Anatomy of Gray, 2010
Ink on Paper, 9" x 12"

I also know that everyone is creative.  Now...don't argue with me.  I've read the reports and articles and studies and I know that creativity is a cognitive process that we're all capable of.  I've spent roughly 40,000 hours with kids teaching them to make things and I've seen creativity in action.  Not one of the hundreds of kids that I've taught has ever not been able to create.  That said - I also know that, like most genetically based traits, there is a great deal of variation from person to person, so it exists within varying degrees in people.  But it is there.  Every person makes something. We put into existence that which did not exist before.  Everyone does that.  We all make.  We compose sentences for e-mails and letters.  We make cookies and Easy Mac to fend off hunger.  We make handmade Christmas ornaments.  We carve wood into furniture.  We conjure up a symphonies.  We improv drum solos.  We write plays!  We make paintings!  We make wallets out of DUCT TAPE!  Oh...people aren't doing that anymore?  It's not the trendy reference that I'm looking for?  No?  I'm hip.  Really I am.  I mentioned Easy Mac.  The point I'm making is that we all know what it's like to make something out of nothing.  We all toil away.


I guess what scares me, is that I don't know why I create things.

A major contributing factor to this blog's existence is my need to understand the reasons behind my own creative processes.  I got to a point where I didn't understand my own need to create, and I felt like I had to perform a sort of dissection to see what made it work, and how to keep it going.  In the most selfish of ways, I wanted to explain how it happened so that I might see something in the process that would help me to better understand it.  It is an act of self preservation.

I know the basic reasons.  I like making things.  I'm good at making things.  I feel like my day wasn't wasted when I make things.  Largely, for me creativity has to do with communication.  Art is a language that I need to say all of the things that I don't know how to otherwise.  

But that is really only part of it.  There is more to be understood.  More to be discovered.  There is a reason, that I've yet to hit on, that makes me create things, and it feels bigger than I know how to express.  So I'll keep dissecting.  I'll keep examining the parts to see if the whole becomes apparent.

In the meantime, thanks for reading.


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