After perhaps too many years of thinking about this, I finally hosted a ‘creative soiree’ yesterday. The idea was to get different kinds of creatives- artists, designers, poets, writers, photographers and dreamers- to come together to talk about creativity and the barriers they may face to realising their creative potential. I was so pleased when many accepted. As the tea and wine flowed and food warmed the cold evening, conversations also flowed and hearts warmed to each other’s experiences of creativity. The talk ‘Pursuit of happiness’ by the late architect, Professor Libby Burton, that I have used on this blog site before, started off the evening. From the theories of creativity to the work of creatives- such as the architects Peter Zumthor and Joseph Allen Stein, the Bauhaus, the artist Gerhard Richter, the gardener/blogger, Frances Bellord and Peter Fay, designer Bernard Newman, inspirational writer Julia Cameron and many others- an intense and in depth discussion of what it takes to be a ‘creative’ rather than a ‘technician’ followed. Difficult as it was to fully document the evening, I have tried to put together some of the main points below-
1. Do something every day that expresses your creativity. It could be even be a piece of early morning ‘Stream-of-consciousness writing’ as advised by Julia Cameron. And don’t worry about what others think about your creation. Do it for yourself, not for others. If you don’t express yourself, then you de-value your life if you don’t use the gifts that you have. Remember who you are. But one has to be disciplined enough to do this everyday in a self unconscious way.
2. Remember your creative self everyday. You have a financial self that strives to earn to make a living so that you can put a roof over your head and put food into your mouth and you have a caring self that may be caring for others but do not forget that you also have a creative self too. Try to go back to being a child sometime- being creative is about having a space for ‘play’ in your everyday life. The daily grind, problems and deadlines may actually focus your creative energy.
3. It doesn’t matter if no one ‘gets’ your work! Share your work, your talent. Engage others in the process of creation. Judgment, justification and self flagellation are the biggest obstacles to creativity. We also had a lively debate about the ‘modern’ need to reference everything. The great works of art we love starting from those flowing paintings made by cave dwellers (perhaps that would be called ‘naive art’ today), didn’t need to be referenced to something else- they were just pure creativity. It is best to reference something after you have understood it perfectly yourself.
4. Produce lots of work and learn to ditch. Careful editing, keeping of scrapbooks, digital photos of creating the work, thinking deeply about the process and documenting what works and what doesn’t makes the creative journey productive and interesting. Forget the pursuit of perfection- walk away from it. Does everything have to be for one’s impending future success?
5. Get into the making. Get your hands dirty- by actually making it, writing it or painting it. Without that actual feel of materials and how they come together, one can’t be creative. That is why many projects fail because we thought too much without actually doing something!
PS- I am hoping to have more of these creative soirees and if you are in London and want to come, do let me know.