What is “creativity”?
Creativity comes from the Latin term ‘creare’ which literally means ‘to create or make.’ The creation of something that is arguably original, which is either tangible or intangible can be called creativity.
Ideas or concepts are intangible whereas innovative electronic devices or paintings can be called tangible objects. Creativity can be applied across multiple fields such as technology, stand-up comedy, philosophy, or astronomy.
Art or creativity is an aesthetic expression. That means whatever you feel or experience can be made into an art form. Rather any art is really made out of a creator’s personal experiences.
Even if you try to copy someone’s art to a point that you cannot tell a difference, you cannot help but have your prejudices included in the art you end up creating. These prejudices are the result of the instincts that you pick up in childhood or the views that are ‘normalized’ by the part of society you live in.
Are creative people different from normal ones?
Carl R. Rogers rightfully said that “What is most *personal is most *universal.” When you tell a story that is a real and personal experience, it will be relatable to most people in the world.
It is because most human experiences are very common and most definitely shared by each and every one of us. If you can tell your story brilliantly using the devices or skills that the artform permits then the artistic experience is out of the world.
Creativity is linking your thinking in a way that produces an ultimate meaning for the viewer. When a painter draws a chai-tapri in the negative space in the drawing of an astronaut on the moon, for a normal viewer it could be a very unique concept.
He might even discuss how in the world did he even come up with this idea and about the uniqueness of the artist. But for the artist, it may have been as simple as how he sees the world or where he likes to go for mental peace (chai-tapri).
For him, it is the logical next step. But for the audience that hasn’t been through the same experiences, that connection is too far-fetched.
“Everything we do is to reduce uncertainty”- Beau Lotto. Whenever anything uncertain happened with the stone age men, they felt threatened. Because uncertainty in those times literally meant death.
Therefore we do everything to reduce uncertainty. That means we as humans create and try to live in everyday patterns in order. We like familiar things like a TV show to watch whenever we feel down.
Those things make us less uncertain, which means less anxious. But art is totally opposite to this!
Even though you can find freelancing jobs or full time jobs on the internet, the artistic talent needs to be constantly worked on and refined. No one will be forcing you to do it.
Art isn’t something that the society is suffering without even though it is important for the society. It is your personal journey.
What are the qualities that creative people posses?
Art is the venture into the unknown. It is the thing that begins with not knowing. When an artist enters this chaos, it means that he is entering into the world of possibilities.
Here, everything has a possible connection to a thing that is so random, that the connection might seem very unique to a normal person. To give you an example, Korean scientists are trying to use origami to make small foldable satellites They are doing this to reduce the fuel consumption of the rocket and reduce e-waste.
Now, this might be a unique idea for someone living outside Korea, but for a Korean, origami is a national tradition. Arguably, this connection couldn’t have been very far-fetched for them.
Applying knowledge gathered through varied life experiences ingeniously across different fields can be said to be one important aspect of creativity. But chaos or the unknown isn’t the only aspect of creativity.
You need to have a structure, an order to tie it all up. This is where most artists go wrong. They are able to head into the unknown to find these deep connections due to their personality. But they cannot string them up in a way that looks beautiful.
As we talked about ‘aesthetic expressions’ before, the ‘expressions’ part is about the chaos but the ‘aesthetic’ part is about the beautiful-orderly structure of the art.
So we can say that creativity is the malevolent chaos woven into a structure or order. Being orderly and being chaotic are two distinctly opposite personalities. These personalities are very rare to exist in one person. Therefore it is very hard to be a creative person.
That is the reason why we see some artists that are so chaotic that they are not able to live in a society like normal people. But these are the artists that will create a conversation around a topic where nobody wants to poke their nose.
Sometimes when you look at an art that is very unique but unorganized and think that only if the artist could’ve been able to arrange it a little better, the art could’ve been better. This is due to focusing on a single aspect of art which is expressing yourself.
What if you are orderly and straight but not chaotic or even expressive? You may create aesthetically pleasing art that plainly doesn’t say anything or art that is so predictable and dull that anyone would be able to figure it out. It is better to be on the chaotic side than on the orderly side if you want to really become an artist.
So can creativity be learned or not?
Now if we say that creativity is the result of personality, does it mean that artists are only born? – Well yes, and no. Yes, because if you are not vulnerable enough you will not be able to express yourself without any hesitation.
And you can argue, but there is no pure expression without being vulnerable. Referring to ‘The big five personality model’ by D.W. Fiske, one of the most important traits for creativity is ‘openness to new experience’.
That means an artist should inherently like to explore and have new experiences. You cannot be an artist if you have no sense of aesthetics and enough vulnerability for expression.
To sum up, creativity is largely dependent on personality, which mostly forms due to your biology and the way you were brought up and you have no say in it.
But you cannot say that creativity is completely God-given. You have to hone your skills constantly to keep getting better. Breaking your comfort zone is one of the most important and foundational works required to become an artist.
So you can exercise the behaviors from the opposite end of the personality trait spectrum to widen your personality spectrum. In a nutshell, you can alter your personality and perceptions little by little, constantly.
As it is a long way, it’s always better to start now! It is always better to start work and learn little by little, whatever you can.
Creativity isn’t like most intelligent things humans are capable of. It requires more than skills or talent. It requires you to change. Putting in hours of work won’t help you if you are not ready to change your personality and set it up in accordance to the art form you are trying to learn.