Deconstructing the Creative Process

31 01 2009

While checking my Twitter updates, I came across a follower by the name of Carter Harkins. I’m usually one to follow back on twitter, considering I do like socializing, and socializing with Carter lead me towards his blog. In a recent blog post where he had gotten inspiration from Graham Smith (Who I also socialize with on twitter), he had asked questions about creativity.

Since I had been designing just a couple minutes before hand, I was compelled to answer these questions, since they made me think about why is it that we create. So without further ado here is my take on it:

What constitutes creativity? Is it a uniquely human process?
As far as I see things, creativity is something all of us has in us, because if we aren’t artists (which creativity is usually associated with) we all have the ability to create things. Creatives are usually classified under different names such as engineers, artists, designers, etc. Creativity is a process, sometimes a new process to solving problems. Problems that can be solved in numerous ways, which is why if you gave a group of people cameras and told them to shoot a picture of the same object, you’d come out with pictures that are somewhat relatively the same, but are also different. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are many different ways to solve things and even if one way is the most popular way, doesn’t necessarily mean that trying to go about it in a different prospective is necessarily the wrong way.

Are there “Creatives” and “Non-Creatives”, or is everyone inherently creative?
As stated above, I believe everyone is creative. Then again not many people live up to their creative potential. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are people who are more creative than others and then there are some people who don’t realize they’re creative. I guess it depends on the degree of tapping into your creative spark, to know what you’re good at. Some people are earlier starters and they automatically know, then there are some people who are late bloomers and don’t find out until later that they have creative potential.

Are there hard creative limits or only self-imposed limitations?
As far as limitations with creativity goes I suppose it has to do with surroundings. To my knowledge at least, that’s how I see it. I mean if I’m relaxed and not having to think about things and I’m just observing my surroundings I find that ideas come easier to me (why I usually carry a note pad with me everywhere I go to jot these things down). Though if I’m in a high level of stress situation and I’m required to think creatively it seems more so impossible to think of something good, because I actually have to think about. – Meaning when I’m not thinking about being creative something sparks, when I have to think about being creative I’ve got nothing.

I suppose creativity to me is like a roller coaster, there are times where things go smooth and I’m happily doing things, then there are the peaks where I get a ton of ideas rushing at me at once, but then you slope down and you have the hardest time trying to come up with something.

How do we grow creatively? What holds us back or keeps us in a rut?
Hm, this is a tough question. Growing creatively is a process, though through praise and even sometimes negativity it somehow shapes how we process things. I guess to better say it, is that we gain exposure to things and with that exposure we have reactions, whether they be good or bad is a matter of personal preference. Creativity to me is always a learning process, I’m always learning from people I socialize with and just observing. I guess to grow creatively we have to be open to new things and new experiences.

That being said, there are certain things we’re not always opened to or we don’t have enough exposure to and don’t really feel the need to progress with it. I guess that’s what holds one back from progressing into a new media/medium. That or the new media/medium seems so intimidating that we shoot ourselves in the foot before we even decide to try it out.

I guess what holds us back is intimidation and fear. Intimidation coming from those around you who can do certain things – for example I have an intimidation of web design. I think it’s because I have the fear of things not working out right or turning out as I planned. Though I’m sure with more exposure to web design and web designing I’d eventually feel comfortable working with it.

Can creativity be a community-centered experience, or is it only an individual pursuit?
I think it’s both. I’m surrounded by artists most of the week and now with social media I’m surrounded by artists all over the world. There’s a sense of community with the artists I socialize with on an everyday basis, those people help me become more creative when I’m not in my creative frame of mind. They help me break through creative blocks, which in turn gets my creativity flowing.
I also think it’s an individual pursuit as well, like I stated before we’re all creative, but just because there’s one popular way of doing things doesn’t mean that an alternative way is the wrong way. We all draw inspiration from different sources which shapes how we think creatively, my perception of a dog for example could be totally different from your perception of the same dog. So in a sense yes, it’s an individual pursuit as well as a community experience.

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