On Creativity

There was a wonderful article in the Wall Street Journal today on How To Be Creative.

"... creativity is not magic, and there's no such thing as a creative type. Creativity is not a trait that we inherit in our genes or a blessing bestowed by the angels. It's a skill. Anyone can learn to be creative and to get better at it. New research is shedding light on what allows people to develop world-changing products and to solve the toughest problems. A surprisingly concrete set of lessons has emerged about what creativity is and how to spark it in ourselves and our work.... For prompting creativity, few things are as important as time devoted to cross-pollination with fields outside our areas of expertise."

Interesting! I was thinking about the Creative Collaboration project and the feedback I received from the photographers who participated. Kirstianne Koch wrote about her experience on her blog....

"... It was such an amazing process for me and really gave my creative process the nudge it’s been needing. I have always loved ‘making’ images. From the moment I learned how to make high contrast masks of my negatives and use registration pins in the darkroom, I have been making composite photographic images.

Kristianne Koch ~ What Path Will She Pick?

Making images from piecing together several images has always been a part of my repertoire. Currently, I am interested in doing this to tell surreal stories. I am fascinated with quirky and offbeat imagery with a beautiful quality to them. It’s this balance of the eccentric and sublime that gets me excited about making images. I see this thread woven through all my favorite photographs.

In this image for the collaboration, I saw the light in the image and the first thing that came to mind was this image I had previously taken of a taxidermy coyote. I had him in the piece for weeks before I could visualize what else I wanted to say. As soon as I started researching Little Red Riding Hood (even though I used a coyote and not a wolf-flaw #1), I had Maliea on board. She actually put the wardrobe together for her part so that was another fun aspect of the collaboration. She walked the path for me happily and with enthusiasm even though she really needed to be sitting on the toilet. She is such a method actress that she put that aside to get her performance done “before the sun set on the last day.”

I couldn’t just do another version of Little Red Riding Hood, however. I wanted it to say something more personal. So when I remembered the bluebird I had photographed out my office window a year or so ago, I realized that the story was starting to unfold. The wolf (in coyote clothing) represents distractions from your chosen path and unhappiness in life. The bluebird represents happiness and joy and hope. It’s my wish that Maliea reaches the path of happiness and hope before the wolf swallows the bluebird and forces her to go down the wrong path.

It was so good for me to just put this work out there without any judgement and hesitation. I committed to it and sent it on it’s way."

It is important to approach art making with a sense of play...and to suspend the judgement. There is a lot to learn from allowing ourselves to tackle things we have not done before. To begin with a "beginners mind." We don't have to do it right or perfectly. What is most important is that we learn from the process.

So with that I invite you to play with The Red Chair...do whatever you will with it. Paint, draw, write, just reconfigure any which way you like...you could even build a paper airplane with it! JUST DO IT!

from the Wall Street Journal article...

"It's this ability to attack problems as a beginner, to let go of all preconceptions and fear of failure, that's the key to creativity."

Click HERE for details on the next Creative Collaboration.