Creative process and outcomes

IImage am away from my studio for the next week, but I wanted to explore briefly whether the “products” of a creative process need to be justified.  I am not exactly sure whether “justified” is the correct word here, but I think you know what I mean.  Does a creative process need an outcome?  Does this product need to contribute something to the human experience?  Does it need to have a purpose or reason to be?  Can something just be for pleasure or fun or a good belly laugh or snicker?  

I don’t think there is one answer here or an easy way to resolve the issue?  Sometimes exploring the “justification” for something contributes to the overall experience; sometimes such analysis detracts.

Take for example the enclosed picture–my latest drawing. (Again, apologies for the quality of the picture!) What do you see?  What is your immediate response? Is it OK for this “thing” just to be? To cause a giggle or a smile? Or invite curiosity? Or to do nothing? Would it make a difference if I put a title on the image?  

I wonder sometimes if the world would be a whole lot more fun to inhabit if the demanded “outcomes” of our American culture relaxed a little.  Maybe even take a day off.  Wouldn’t school have been a lot more exciting if we could have had a spontaneous day of play now and then?  Wouldn’t our jobs be more enjoyable if the boss came in and proclaimed “Today is a day to Play?”  How silly of me to wonder.  How silly of me to let the above image “come out and play.”

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One comment

  1. Great and thought provoking. I have been thinking about the industriousness of young life and the need to produce things as being somewhat tied to stage of life. Perhaps one of the biggest tasks of aging is to become at ease with being, playing, creating without thought about a product. Your words also put me in mind of what Nancy Crow, a well-known artist/quilt maker said( paraphrased): you have to be willing to waste a lot of fabric in the creative process of coming up with a new quilt. Letting my mind wander without a product in mind seems essential to the creative process, and letting myself waste fabric also is important. What if nothing comes of the wandering and wasting? The value does seem to be largely in the process itself (at least, that is where a lot of the neurons in my brain seem to light up).

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