How did you know you were creative? (part 2; creativity series)

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Artists from across the United States answer the question, what is creativity? What does creativity mean to you? Does curiosity play a part in creativity?

My creativity allows me to be spontaneous and humorous. It keeps my outlook positive and allows me to interact with others in a comforable way.That's hard! I tend to like to work in different mediums; clay, silver point (uses silver or gold wire to draw on clay coated paper), and whatever else comes up besides my core mediums. I think variety is good for me. I think I am expressive and my artwork tends to be more traditional than modern -- Cathy Card, professional graphic & web designer (media: Watercolor, pencil, computer art, graphic design)

Yes, I am definitely curious about life. I believe that if you lose your curiousity, you pretty much lose your soul. That's where creativity comes from, in my opinion. Always hanging onto your curiosity about the world, and being open to new things. Imagine yourself as a child, or a visitor from an alien planet...look at the world as if you've never seen it before.
Basically, I believe that if you are a creative person (and most people are in some form or fashion), you have a need to sort through all the junk in your mind and create something beautiful/cool/scary/sad, be it a song, painting, short story, etc. Creating is work, very useful work that benefits you and fosters a spirit of community. Creativity is one of the things that ties us to ourselves and to others. It keeps us connected, and, if used in a positive way, gives a deeper meaning to on -- Rachel Cabaniss, painter (acrylics/ collage/ mixed media portraits on wood)

While being creative is good, the US societal 'assigned' roles and stereotypes/views of artists can be hard. Creativity gives me strength in that I am very independent and I can think about things in a different way, which sometimes gives me an edge with problemsolving. On a personal level, I treasure the moments when I really feel creative and in touch with the world. Walking outside and noticing the light shining in a particular way, the warmth of the sun on my face... it's amazing and feels like magic. -- Robin Fay, professional web designer, painter (media: handmade paper, oilstick, photography, computer art)

Creativity on a personal level is mostly a selfish, hedonistic pursuit meant to fortify my own life and make it more enjoyable to live. Sometimes, I will learn something about myself, but that’s more of a side product rather than goal. In the larger social context, being creative produces art that connects with other people emotionally and intellectually, which is a lot more important than I’ve perhaps made it sound. My artwork is highly personal, but not necessarily serious. In fact, I think that even when I deal with serious themes, it is more often than not with a very light-hearted, humorous application. -- Mary Jessica Hammes, professional artist & writer (Media: Paper & Ink (comics); Fiber (quilting, knitting, wing); Performance (trapeze and aerial fabrics); Words (fiction)),

It means to be a communicator. -- Frank Hamrick, Professional Photographer & Art Faculty (Media: Photography, Writing) ,

A willingness to "do" and not worry too much what other folks think about it.-- Bob Hart,, creator of 9-11 Garden, currently working in 3d

I don't know [on what it means to be creative]. I mimic visual and tactile experiences from other work, my own and others'. Of course it comes out differently because of firing circumstances. I'm not an artist, I'm a craftsperson and make things for people to use. -- Will Langford, Potter (Media: Clay -- wheel made, stoneware functional pottery)

I don't know if I am as curious about life as I am interested in exploring what I find pleasurable or interesting about it. I enjoy reading books by people who have lived deeply and independently. I enjoy looking at work that expresses universalities as well as independent perspectives. I enjoy watching documentaries that encompass individual histories within the scope of larger historical movements. I enjoy the cuisine and artifacts of other cultures and subcultures, and I enjoy traveling, provided that I can do so within my comfort level.

Personally, I have found creativity to be a mixed blessing, mostly because I have had to spend so much more time within institutions that reward conformity far more than creativity or the expression of individuality. This is not to say that I wish that I weren't creative. I just wish that our culture rewarded creativity (and individuality) more than it does. In a larger social context, I think that it is important to encourage individuality and creativity within our educational institutions--especially amongst teenagers. It seems that while creativity is encouraged in early education, it is progressively discouraged as students grow older--after a certain grade level, creativity is seen as "playtime," and is anti-intellectualized--at least I have found this to be the case with visual art. This isn't to say that there aren't supportive subcultures where artists can find support, they just tend to be ghettoized and under-funded if they don't directly serve mainstream corporate culture. So, pursuing creative goals becomes more difficult as we grow older, and seeking validation is a greater challenge.-- Mandy Mastrovita, Web Designer/Graphics (Media: graphic design, writing, mixed media),

Being able to see things with an artist eye. Having a talent for something creative that you can not learn in a book. Just raw talent, I just love it when some one says "you are so talented I wish I could do that"... I like to make everything as beautiful as its greatest potential. That includes houses, murals, people, communities, etc. -- Jennifer L. Matias, painter, interior design industry (Media: Acrylic, oil, interior design

Personally, [creativity] means I've got an edge whenever the need to write essays (for school applications and so forth) crops up. It means I've got a lot of inner resources to draw on when I'm bored. I'm not sure about the larger social context, except to say that I don't really think it's okay for me to be nasty to people and blame it on an "artistic temperament." Actually, none of the creative people I know seem to think that. I don't know how the myth of the artistic temperament got started. -- Jasmine Odessa Rizer, writer, pen & ink,

I'm not sure what creative means. I guess I would say it implies a certain lack of complacency, and some critical thinking skills. In a larger social context, those things are definitely tools for potential social action. -- K.R., collage/mixed media/assemblage

TO be creative is to not be held captive by societal mores. You have to be able to think outside the box, to dream, to imagine "what if?" Many times I have heard an observer of art comment, "Oh, I could have done that." I ask them, "Yes, but would you have had the idea to do that?" Could you have thought of it, dreamed it? -- Sarah Margaret Stubbs, painter (oils), Arts instructor,

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robin fay is an artist, web designer, web junkie and serves as the editor of moonshine.

An archive of robin's articles is located here.

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