This are the conclusions from the last creative soiree I organised with the theme of ‘Overcoming barriers to creativity’. This time participants had to bring in a recent piece of work- anything from poetry to sculpture. The idea was not to critique the work itself but for the person to describe how they overcame barriers in order to create that work. The evening kicked off with videos of Annie Fennymore and Sargy Mann (sadly recently passed away)- both blind artists, who have managed to overcome their physical limitations to create art. As a result of the discussion, we came up with a list of ‘tools’ that could be used to overcome barriers to creativity- whether internal (procrastination, self defeating thoughts, etc) or external (money, time, etc).
1. Use paper– Paul Klee said to take the line for a walk. When stuck in rut, use paper to think out ideas. An architect used CAD drawings to work out a circulation route in a complex plan by actually drawing on the plans.
2. Look and look– learn to look and observe without analysing or judging. Often looking at something like that opens up fresh ideas. A piece of sculpture brought by one of the participants was created by looking carefully and working on a single sheet of metal from all angles.
3. Tell a story– Each piece of work- written or artistic- connects to another person via a story. Traditional story tellers and balladeers knew that. Even architects can tell stories through their buildings. As long as we have experiences, we have a story to tell- said Sargy Mann. So use your experiences- good or bad- to connect with the world. Nothing need be a barrier.
4. Create constraints– By limiting resources or creating artificial constraints, one can be even more creative. Jackson Pollock (paint splashes and drips) and Jasper Johns (cross hatch series) both used this technique. A sculptor described how he used only one sheet of metal. A fine artist described how she used just one pint brush or one colour to create constraints.
5. Finally, organise yourself- In order to be creative, manage your time and money! Different people mentioned different barriers- money, work, time, children etc and how they overcome these issues in order to be creative.