You’re a Creative Person too
I just had a chat with my neighbor about creativity. I talk about being creative a lot at art festivals and social mixers.
When someone asks what I do, and I say “I’m an artist.”, my new acquaintance usually turns wistful, and replies: “Oh, it must be so wonderful to be creative. I wish I was a creative person, but I can barely draw a stick figure.”
Why does art get the pinnacle position under the heading Creative?
Who, me? An Artist!?
Isn’t it creative to be a gardener, or a cook, or a quilter? Do you consider it creative to raise a family? What about people with jobs that demand mechanical, computational, chemical, or mathematical problem solving?
I get it; creative as a word is associated with the arts, but as a way of thinking, writers, musicians and painters are all tapping the same cognitive problem solving skills as many other non-artistic fields.
We may enjoy making stuff pretty, or entertaining, but the skills required to carve a woodcut are learned the same way other trades are acquired by repetition, and synapse between brain and hands. What’s the difference?
Being Creative Isn’t Lofty
I don’t know the first thing about laying out a garden, or preparing a gourmet meal, but I know sure as the ocean is deep that my friends, family and neighbors have abundant and beautiful creative skills.
Creativity comes in all sorts of non-art flavors, and I wouldn’t have to look far to get coaching on garden layout or gourmet appetizers. We’re *all* creative.
The next time someone asks if you’re creative, do me a favor and just say yes. Okay? Good.
Surprising Facts About Creativity
If you’re feeling contentious towards my assertion that you are indeed creative, behold these missives to incite reflection and acceptance on the subject. 🙂
- John Paul Titlow writes in Fast Company that the brain’s creative circuitry holds some unexpected secrets that scientists are only just beginning to understand in Seven Surprising Facts About Creativity, According to Science.
- Priscilla Frank writes in the Huffington Post that the Journal of American Art Therapy found that 45 minutes of creative activity significantly lessens stress in the body, regardless of artistic experience or talent. Study Says that Making Art Reduces Stress, so, that means you should manage bad days by making something, even if it sucks. Do art, cook a meal, plant a garden… really, it’s all good for you.
- Theodore Scaltsas writes in the Harvard Business Review that the trick of breaking problems down, part-by-part, will expedite the path to a creative solution, buoyed by our previous experiences. A Cognitive Trick for Solving Problems Creatively
Making Old Things New Again
My paternal grandfather was an avid whittler. His fireplace mantle was populated with horses, frogs and cherubs carved from wood, ivory and shell. He collected mariner’s scrimshaw pieces, carved from whale teeth.
He often carved other people’s throwaways – like the butt of a gun or the handle of a sword – rejuvenating them into beautiful objects again. Maybe that’s why I found the video below so beautiful.
Creative Problem Solving
A short film about crafting objects at sea, in the past with whale’s teeth and in the future with collected plastic trash, melted with a machine harnessing the sun. Creative problem solving at it’s finest. 🙂
Thanks for visiting, and I’ll see you in the next post –
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P.P.S. I’ll be exhibiting on back-to-back weekends: San Diego April 29/30, and Sierra Madre May 6/7 – if you’re local, come say hello!
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.