Something that occurred to me today, was to talk about how we engage with creativity; why we do or don’t engage with it and about making time for it. There are many issues here to look at, so let’s list them to begin an ongoing discussion. Of course there may well be more than this.

1. We are all creative – except me that is.

2. We aren’t all born creative and I don’t have a creative bone in my body.

3. I love being creative, I just can’t seem to find the time.

4. Creativity is for weirdos and I don’t want to be like that.

5. I’m a businessman/woman and I don’t have the time or inclination for creativity.

6. What use is creativity anyway?

7. I’ll get back to it when my kids are older or I retire.

8. I can’t earn a living being creative – starving artist syndrome.

9. I wish I could be creative, I just don’t know where to start.

10. Creativity is just an excuse to not be responsible.

11. Get a REAL job.

There are probably many, many more statements that spring to mind, and you know what, we all have our own special one.  I’m sure you may have said some of these very things to your self at one time or another. So I am going to begin at the beginning, because at the core of every single one of these statements are two very important things which are addressed in the first two items on the list.  Really everything else stems from them!

1. FIRSTLY – it is a universal principle – we are ALL creative and YOU are NOT  the exception!

In order to address these statements let’s look at the whole idea of creativity a little more closely. The first thing to be clear about is that there is nothing original under the sun. All creativity is built on the shoulders of those who have gone before. Even The Renaissance had it’s seeds in the cave paintings of the ancients. When we create an ‘original’ work we are always using some element of something that some one before us has created, even if it is a beautiful landscape we are sitting in, not even a photograph of one. The amazing Creator of our planet created it.

Often as artists we get bogged down in the place of, I’ve got to produce something new and original, something awesome that no one has ever done before. I think that secretly there is a little bit of that wish in all of us. However do you think that expectation is either realistic or possible?

What we can achieve is something that may appear to be original but is founded on past works. I did a series of paintings in 2011-2012 that actually honoured the creators before us. I used various elements, from Ancient Greece, to a facade from Venice, old clocks and so on.  Below is one of these works.

Beginnings

Beginnings

The boy is a statue from Ancient Greece, the golden leaves from a piece of ancient Roman glassware, the lace work from a Venetian window and the Roman numerals on the clock are from an old clock in Sydney.

This Weeks Question: What can you use to build on that someone else before you has already created?

Valuing Artists

Here’s a few more thoughts on valuing artists.  Many of us come from a background of ‘poverty consciousness’.  We had parents who grew up in the Great Depression and lived with ‘not enough’ for the rest of their lives.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression

This was passed onto their children perpetuating the myth and becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

Then on top of that artists have to struggle with a cultural perception that artists are poor, starving in the garret ( which by the way contributes to creating brilliant art),  ‘the only rich artist is a dead artist’ and so on ad nauseum.  One of those lies many artists have chosen to believe is that,  unless some kind of suffering is involved it cant possibly be great art!

As contemporary artists we are tasked with altering this perception both in our own lives and in changing society’s expectations.  We need to show that artists are abundant that we can and do produce great works which uplift  and move humanity forward without having to starve in garrets or live in anxt!

For more insight on this topic check out Anne’s post on the same subject – over at Artists Who Thrive.

Pix Credit: Picture from the FDR Library, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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