Sunday, 11 January 2009

Can we all think outside the box?

What is creativity? Who can be creative? What does it mean to possess creativity? Is it an acquired skill or are we born with it?

Although creativity is a widely used term within many industries, it doesn’t seem to particularly define anything. As an artist, I associate creativity with art and most likely so do the general population, I believe that creativity or being creative is an expression of oneself, that usually results in something productive such as an artistic creation.

However, does being creative just limit to areas of art? A few of my close friends are currently studying Engineering and Electronics and they would strongly argue that the production of circuit boards is an art. So does that mean they are creative?
Or does it mean that the term ‘art’ can be as widely diverse as term ‘creativity’? But then, and this is even more thought provoking, is being creative limited to just art and that art is more widely applied?
Fans and supporters may argue that a game of football is an art.
Surgeons and doctors may argue that a medical procedure is an art.
Can bricklaying be considered an art? Or even the process of cooking and mixing ingredients?

But that still leaves ‘creativity’ feeling a bit vague. Some would argue that being creative is resulting in something new and original, which I believe to be true. Making the same t-shirt a couple of times isn’t as creative as designing a new one. Dancing the Macarena isn’t as creative as dancing your own dance. But this implies that anyone can be creative - dissolving the popular illusion that it is only limited to artists.

From a scientific point of view, creativity is considered to be the process of the right side of the brain, so this would argue that anyone can be creative. But then different social backgrounds and cognitive development can have an effect on how creative a person is.

A good example of this is children. At some point in our childhoods we have all had imaginary friends or played pretend games with imaginary worlds and characters. This would support that we are all born with creative traits and that it is not an acquired skill. A persons level of creativity from then on is determined by the paths we choose in life. Some children are encouraged to become better at maths, some at sports or in my case, art.
So although creativity is a natural ability it can be developed and encouraged by various social processes from an early age.

But are we constantly creative? Many artists are moved by inspiration and muses ( I know I am!), we need motivation, a starting point in which to be creative with and express ourselves. But then that would mean that life in general is being creative, every choice we make, every conversation we have is being creative as it is original and new to us and it is expressing ourselves as human beings.

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