On Creativity

I always have this irrational panic when I finish a work that I will never be able to come up with anything better, will never be that creative again, that this most recent piece will be the last of the ‘good’ pieces I make.  At least, I hope it’s irrational.  I thought I’d share this quote from the Creative Pathfinder series on Lateral Action:

New doesn’t necessarily mean ‘created out of thin air’. Very few things are completely new. Shakespeare famously never invented a plot. He didn’t see the need, with plenty of tried-and-tested stories to hand. He also worked in conventional forms — the five act play, with characters speaking in prose and iambic pentameter, a well-established verse form. And yet … when he put the elements together he created something new and magical in the crucible of the Globe Theatre.
When starting a new project or piece of work, try not to put pressure on yourself to reinvent the wheel. Because of your unique background and talent, what seems obvious to you could well be a revelation to other people. Try the simplest, most obvious idea you can think of. You may be surprised how it turns out.

I like that quote because it reminds me that no matter what I do next, I will do it differently than anyone else.  It’s easy to forget that when there’s already such an overwhelming amount of art out there!  Sometimes when I decide to do, for example, a portrait, my inner super judgmental side will come out and make me feel the very opposite of creative.  That mean side will remind me that there are an infinite number of portraits out there already and that as an artist I should be more innovative.  It’ll probably sound similar to that one guy.  But I suppose there will only really be a problem if my portraits start looking exactly like someone else’s, right?  Since we are constantly bombarded with new information throughout our lives, I think it’s safe to say that everything we do is just a lot of bits and pieces picked up and rearranged into something new (kind of like in Steal Like an Artist). Everyone gets their inspiration from somewhere.  I also like the idea of doing what is most obvious, that way, if we are all pulling from our own unique perspectives and stories, something new and creative will come out each time.

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Side note, I was sorting through my old stuff (aka, artwork) today and liked seeing the slow progression that led me to where I am today.  Since I’m usually so focused on the little measurable steps, it was nice to see a slightly bigger picture.

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