Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Creativity

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you all
Opens a new window at Chakryn Forrest, SL
I took my daughters out for a coffee the other day. Just before we left, Hannah who is age 19 and the older of the two, stepped out of her bedroom looking like a Vogue model. I was charmed that she took time and effort to change before going out for coffee with her old dad.

“I like your outfit, especially the belt”, I said as we got into the car.

“Two dollars in a second-hand shop”, she quipped with a cheeky smile.

That’s one way a second year Art student at AUT demonstrates her creativity to the world – by choosing appropriate clothes to dress smartly on a minimal budget.

Did she have to study Art to express her imagination this way? Certainly not. Anyone can do it if they have a mind to.

But Hannah worked very hard to secure her place in her course at AUT. When she studied Art at High School, she created many different things. Not everything she did was as successful as she’d like it to have been. But she did it all the same. It all contributed to her portfolio – time after time.

    To me, the difference between the artist and the non-artist
    is that the artist is the one who does it.
    – Helen Garner

If a thing’s worth doing . . .

When my son, Jack, was to be married a few years back, I wrote a waltz in honour of his lovely Irish bride, Ailish. She had told me that she loved dancing to waltzes. As it happened, she liked the tune I wrote for her. I commissioned a local Irish dance band to play at the wedding.

A musician friend of mine who was a member of the band obviously didn’t like my waltz. When the band was rehearsing it under my supervision, he asked me why I composed stuff like this.

I explained that the alternative was that I did nothing at all. Then the bride would not have her own waltz for her wedding day. He quietly picked up his violin and played the music

Creativity has to be nurtured

    Creativity is so delicate a flower that praise tends to make it bloom, while discouragement often nips it in the bud. Any of us will put out more and better ideas if our efforts are appreciated.
    – Alex F Osborn

The connection between Art and creativity is so intimate, it is almost impossible to define a difference between the two. One thing is clear, and that is that creativity has first to exist before Art comes into being. Creativity tends to be the easier to recognise, while identifying Art can often be an elusive and subjective assignment.

Schools have a big part to play in encouraging creativity in learners.
But they are not the only important influences, and this has been demonstrated by the work of some of the world’s greatest artists, many of whom were influenced by factors well beyond the precincts of the school grounds.

The importance of what is within us

The mind inhabits a complex organ. The self has to be nourished from within. Two undoubtedly brilliant artists in two discrete disciplines, who lived their lives in different countries and in separate centuries, had very similar views on what nurtures and brings out creativity from within. Check them out.

    Go cherish your soul;
    expel companions;
    set your habits to a life of solitude;
    then will the faculties rise
    fair and full within.
    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    When I am . . . completely myself, entirely alone . . . or during the night when I cannot sleep, it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.
    – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Rangimārie - Peace in Harmony


V Yonkers said...

I find it interesting that you link "creativity" with "art" or the "arts". In fact, I think there is the potential for great creativity in science and math; it just is not nurtured in these fields (traditionally).

My daughter currently is doing something their school calls "J-term." When most schools in the area are doing their mid year exams (her school does not test until the end of the year), each of the students at her school are researching a topic they are interested in. They must have one outside connection (business, expert, professional) and they must include emerging technologies.

Some of the topics are incredibily creative as is the research itself. One of the students, a third year student, was investigating scientific design, and had the design she created be picked up by the company she was working with. To me, this is the richness of my daughter's education. Yes, it is a science, math, and technology based school, but with creativity at its heart.

BTW: this is the difference between a 14 year old and a 19 year old. If my husband had complimented my daughter on what she wore, she would have run upstairs and changed!

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

Whenever did I say that Science is not an art? Or that Mathematics isn't, for that matter? In defense (I don't like defending my posts - but on this occasion I must explain) I have to say that the scope of Art is a very broad one.

As a research graduate, I admit that there is art in research. But most of the right brain thinking comes into its own when pen is put to paper - or fingers are applied to the keyboard. At least it was when I did research in Chemistry.

Check out these posts, to number but a few [ 1 ], [ 2 ], [ 3 ], [ 4 ], [ 5 ], and you will see that my vision of creativity is certainly not confined to Art per se.

Catchya later

V Yonkers said...

Ken, honestly, YOU have always linked creativity and math and science. That is why I was surprised you didn't in this post. My comment was more a general observation that in English speaking society, we tend to equate creativity with art and leave it out of science and math (which is also necessary).

Blogger In Middle-earth said...


I agree with you.
This is my point. Art is so broad, I thought I'd already included enough by embracing Music, Sculpture and Writing as well as dress sense. I have waxed the eloquent about Science as an Art before - but it is nevertheless different from the Visual Arts, never mind Music.

Catchya later