Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Creativity As Life Tonic

Asking the question "where does human creativity begin ?" is silly.

It is like asking the questions "what is art?," "what is God?," "what is the origin of the universe?" Answers to these questions concern definitions, which require parameters, demand objectivity and possibly deep analytical scrutiny. Answers to these questions defeat the phenomena to which the questions refer. But, the latter statement can only be declared when all three questions have been answered by those who believe they can answer them and, in fact, do. I am guessing that the number of qualified artists, art historians, theologians, physicists, astronomers and phenomologists have offered innumerable answers to these elemental questions and will in the future.

If I am going to be creative, I am not going to take a course in "How To Be Creative." Doing creativity is an act of consciousness in the same realm of awareness that guides daily automatic activities.

In a conversation with a photographer, I was discussing the tenet that creativity just is and that no number of 'how to' books could ever substitute for the actual doing of the art. He argued that in gathering technical information, it was necessary to learn from 'how to...' books in order to make the photographs he took close to how he wanted them to look. I am guessing that, in his art, it is detail that is of the utmost importance and framing the subject offsets any compositional issues. Through his lens, composition is a moot point. Nothing is set up; he pays attention, adjusts, and clicks.

His intentions are fulfilled. How he follows his intuition in order to decide whether he trashes the photo or not, only he can determine. He learns from every photo he takes. He see what works and what does not work and assimilates one photographic session in search of the next.

So I said in reply: Your looking through the viewfinder and choosing what you see is the same thing as my drawing the first line on a piece of paper. That first line tells me what to do in the rest of the drawing just as the first picture you take tells you what changes you want to make for the next picture.

Between the first line or the first photograph and the second line and the second photograph, the creative mind has taken over. No description in the world of this phenomenon can ever equal it. This phenomenon is ecstatic, irreversible, and done. Just done. It is a step toward newness. Art that is newer and edgier than the old art, which could have existed ten seconds ago. The phenomenon is also moving its owner into a plane of heightened, indescribable, meditative awareness.

There are those who never discover this plane of awareness, no matter how long they have worked in their medium, no matter what. Perhaps working within some media does not permit awareness to be a part of the work. Perhaps the choice of medium is a means to diverge from any possibility of achieving awareness. Perhaps sheer obstinacy destroys the state of mind that is required to attain awareness. Superficial pursuit of the "great statement" incorporated with an adequate delusion that it is achievable will always lead to emptiness, nothingness, zilch.

Pieces of art are not Masters or PhD theses. Pieces of art are the shining stars that lead artists to wherever they are going. Artists are never satisfied with what they do. Having finished one photograph, one drawing, one painting, one anything, they are looking to the next one because they were witnessing the process of the work in the present and can taste the future.

Sure, you gotta have the tools. But all the tools in the chest mean nothing unless they are used properly, applied towards an end that is merely a beginning.

Creativity is the water that springs from the fountain of youth. Seizing the moments when it functions injects artists with energy, life, light, and the will to carry on. They do not have to say a thing.

Copyright 2010 Lyn Horton

Top and middle: copyright 2010 Richard Laurie;
Bottom: "Across," copyright 2009-10 Lyn Horton.

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