So one could conclude after watching the Cleese video that, like the words “love,” “soul,” and probably others, “creativity” can be described by using words that point to it but never quite capture it directly. The best we can say is that creativity looks something “like this.” Or, creativity requires “open systems” not closed. Or, creativity is approached with a certain kind of time and space. Maybe it would be more helpful and accurate to talk about a “creative process.” Ted Orland in his suggestive book, The View from the Studio Door, may be able to help us out.
“I think it was David Bayles who first drew a clear and convincing distinction between ‘creativity’ and ‘the creative process.’ He noted that as the term is commonly employed today, ‘creativity’ describes only one very specific quality in art–namely the quality of being ‘new’ or ‘different’ or generally innovative. While many critics and viewers deem ‘creativity’ a high virtue, it may be neither essential nor even a very common attribute among artists themselves. Some good artists fit the ‘creativity’ mold very nicely, many other equally good artist do not. Bach was conventional, Picasso wasn’t. It didn’t seem to bother them.”
Maybe, then, creative process is a better way for the Red Knibbles to tackle the task of exploring art-making. Funny thing though, most of us viewing, listening, reading art work are not usually invited into the “process” of the finished piece. And even if someone making art shares his/her process, we walk into the tricky territory of interpreting what the piece means. Reducing a finished piece into something else doesn’t work. The process may contribute to our appreciation yet it insufficient for experiencing the whole of the art piece.
I suspect in my willingness to share the process of my art-making, and in fact insist that I am seldom clear where the image is taking me, I miss much that emerges in the final piece. I am OK with that. Although I work in isolation, the fullness of the image just may be communal which means that I need others to help me understand. If the image “works,” whatever that means, it just may open us all up. And that includes me.
I will be posting more of “my” images and those of others in order to keep nibbling away! You can also check out my website as well at http://www.jdmassanari.com