I hear it all the time. “I couldn’t do what you do. I am not CREATIVE.” Or, a variation: “I don’t want to be CREATIVE because all you creatives are poor.”
Don’t be fooled! Creativity is about so much more than being an artist. It’s about innovation, the sciences, building houses, building cars, finding cures for cancers, doing better surgery, designing boots … and yes, of course, about the fine arts and crafts markets. I paint, photograph and write in all my spare moments. During the rest of the day, I am researching, thinking, trouble-shooting and writing LAW. I think within and without of the box. Oh, and when I paint – talk about problem solving. When I am working in the abstract, there is never a sketch. I start with a blank canvas, experiment, ask questions and solve problems until it all comes together in a visual story that works.
“What are creative jobs? What is the creative workforce everyone wants? If we can appropriately create understanding around the fullness of creative occupations, we are further on our way to creating a viable economic sector.”
Einstein was a creative. Galileo was a creative. The doctors and therapists at the Hetrick Center are creatives. So, are the folks at the Blue Room in Middletown, who come up with all sorts of great dishes and each of the cooks put his or her own little spin on the dishes.
Creatives test theories and solve problems, much like scientists and creative thinking is a SKILL that can be TAUGHT AND LEARNED.
In this photograph at left, taken in January 2010, I was working on one of the first layers of what became “Evolution Theory V.” No sketch. Clueless! I knew what I wanted to say in this piece but I’ll be darned if I knew how I was going to get there. In some painting sessions, things turned out right. Other times, I had to fight myself to finish a session. Nothing worked. Ideas did not flow. Techniques did not work. Exploration led me to a dead end. AH- is it wine-thirty yet?
I don’t give a hoot whether you value art. I mean I hope you do; but, if you don’t, perhaps I might be able to convince you that the arts and crafts do matter because when you teach them, you are teaching people how to solve real problems. When you learn how to make art, you are learning how to process information critically and creatively.
Arts educators are not only teaching the elements and principals of design. They are fostering curiosity. They are encouraging experimentation and INNOVATION. They have in their classrooms and studios the makings for the Einsteins, Galileos, Curies, Franklins … and, what the heck, if we get a Monet, a Van Gogh, a Cassatt among them, well the world will be a much better place all the way around.
Here’s a photo of that painting several layers later.
The seven-painting series exhibited at WITF Media Center in Harrisburg, appeared in the Maurice Goddard documentary (watch this video, please! Maurice Goddard was a creative) and has been the subject of news stories about what the series means and says. (Yes, it’s my take on evolution BUT it is also MY story of creation- as in creativity.)
We’re all creative or we all can be creative because it is a skill we develop. Oh, and just one more thing, I’ve never known a POOR creative. We may not have a lot of material riches, our capital is in ideas and shipping these ideas. There’s a lot of reward in that. If money comes, all the better. If it doesn’t, that means we have to use our creative skills to innovate – compete and succeed in an evolving, global marketplace.
A tip: I took you to Seth Godin’s blog in the previous paragraph. Go back there. Spend a little time and subscribe. He’s on point! I read Godin and Dan Pink whenever I need a little creative, pick-me-up. When you finish with them, grab a paint brush or a pencil or a needle, a pencil, a keyboard, whatever your tool … explore, create, innovate. MAKE AND SHIP STUFF!