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[teacherartexchange] Reflecting on creativity

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From: Kevan Nitzberg (knitzber_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Jul 01 2005 - 10:12:29 PDT


The following a piece I wrote for our state art education newsletter on the
creative process that might add some more insight to this well responded to
topic.

Kevan

Revisiting the Creative Process

There is a clear need to connect with one's environment, to make known those
things responsible for constructing a sense of what is perceived to be
reality, providing both clarification to that which is familiar as well as
giving form to that which is not as easily discernible. The ability to
communicate that need through the creation of things that act as
personalized tethers for connecting to the world, is expressed through art
making. The work itself helps to foster a sense of at least a suggestion
that that connection provides relevance to the things and forces around us
as an attempt is made to get to 'know' and make sense of those apparent
realities. How one goes about the formation of that art is considerably much
more of a diverse procedure than the initial need to create.

"Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognises before it can
speak. It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding world. We
can explain that world with words, but words can never completely explain
the complexity of what we see and experience." (1)

Shedding light on what initially might simply be a jumble of visual stimuli,
must certainly be one of the considerations by which the artist attempts to
help define what the eventual artwork being contemplated will ultimately
look like. How also to redefine those stimuli through a personalized,
emotive filter, provides further steps that either consciously or otherwise
need to be attended to by the artist. In addition, the selection /
availability of materials, medium, technique, working environment and other
factors also significantly impact the final outcome.

 ?Visual Arts offers learners a way to meaningfully engage with and respond
to their world. It provides opportunities to stimulate and develop learners'
intellect, engaging their creative imagination through visual and tactile
experiences and the innovative use of materials and technology in the
realisation of their ideas. This provides the basis for learners to develop
an individual visual language, which in turn is informed and shaped by
immersion in the visual culture of the past and present.? (2)

Consider for a moment the following list of factors / influences that might
be put into play and the variety of response that each item might well
elicit:

? formal training
? instinctive response
? analytical response
? emotional response
? imposition of constraints through learned structures (i.e. established
elements / principles)
? new and traditional art forms
? historical overtones / influences
? is anything truly new?
? the push for uniqueness
? the significance of any given subject
? conventional wisdom
? unconventional wisdom
? imposed censorship and its role in defining creativity
? expectations
? what is success and who is to judge?

Irrespective of how conscious the artist is of how any (all?) of the
previous considerations work to shape that which is being fashioned, there
is certainly considerable weight that all of these factors can apply at
various stages in the creative process. Constantin Brancusi?s sculptures
bear witness to the influences of the elemental forces being addressed, as
well as the paintings of the fauves of the early 20th century, Pablo Picasso
?s ?Guernica? reels in horror in reaction to the 1st saturation bombing air
raid attack committed by Germany against the a defenseless Basque town in
Spain, optical artists (Op Art), such as Bridget Riley, create works in
almost mathematical precision, exploring the relationship between the eye
and brain in an attempt to discover entirely new ways of seeing. Each of
these seemingly disparate examples of artists and ways in which their works
grew from specific incentives, are representative of a tiny fragment of
responses to stimuli that were in turn responded to by the artists through
the creative process. The ?forces? which combined to provide the artists
with the particular visions that led them to make these creations,
undoubtedly attended to many of the items listed above.

The very act of creating the work also brings a particular and unique flavor
to the experience through which the artist develops a relationship with the
evolution of what is being created. The revelations and subsequent
directions open up the quality of chance and uniqueness that becomes an
intrinsic part of the entire creative event. The capacity that the artist
has to be open to those unplanned for experiences (would this, perhaps, be
in some way related to the Chaos Theory explored in several earlier ?Insite?
entries?(3)), greatly contributes to the growth that is acquired through the
journey that each work represents.

?Our modern society has been obsessed with conquering and scientifically
controlling the world around us. However, chaotic, nonlinear systems - such
as nature, society, and our individual lives - lie beyond all our attempts
to predict, manipulate, and control them. Chaos suggests that instead of
resisting life's uncertainties, we should embrace the possibilities they
offer.? (4)

One might also consider the quality of the artistry that also engages with
the creativity that is apparent in the work. What is it that ultimately
helps a work to survive the traditionally imposed ?test of time?, allowing
it to be truly recognized as an artistic statement? The idea alone and the
reaction to it that results in the final product, does not assume all of the
responsibility for the work becoming a significant art piece. That, however,
is a topic for another article, which will certainly be addressed in this
column at a later date, when those particular creative forces needed to
coalesce somehow find the necessary impetus to manifest themselves.

(1) http://www.stfz.art.pl/ao_cracoviana/wyklady/m_hanson.html
(2) http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/SA_NCS:Visual_Arts
(3) http://www.art-themagazine.com/pages/insite19.htm
(4) http://www.fdavidpeat.com/bibliography/books/seven.htm

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