Defining it? For science, there is no creation just transformation. But for the philosophical realism, an idea can be created, a concept. Nevertheless back to Materialism, the idea is still a chemical reaction in our brain. It is endless. So a good approach to define creativity is simply by asking 6 artists about how they “create”, because at the end it is always about work!
(background: Sculpture by Tanis Saxby (detail))
The Call From Inside
Sylvie Martin Rodriguez “Alchimagic”
“That’s something general. Especially when you out of the art world, like me, and you decide to make art because you have this call inside. If you are self-educated, no art schools, you hear so many things. “You need to go to art school – You have to start small – You have to pay for art training, for workshops – If you didn’t go to art school, you can’t be an artist – You can’t understand what is art and what is not – you have to be good in marketing and to do so, you have to do this and this and this – you have to be more productive.”
Taking power back
“I heard so many things, everywhere. It looks like when education was only for religious people or male rich people. They could make people believing they were too stupid to understand things because knowledge was only for educated people and it was like a big secret. It’s snobbery and a way to keep power. It’s the same for lots of subjects, not only art. Some people make some people believe they can’t understand, it’s too difficult, there are secrets… and it’s not true. We have to take our power back and follow our inspiration, joy, enthusiasm. Thank you internet.”
Minimizing online time
“The rule I try is to follow now is living what I’m doing and reduce at the minimum the need to show my work online. I’m posting on Instagram and my website. Few on Facebook but I don’t feel good on Facebook. Trying to take photos and post them online is really hard for me. So, I try to follow my instinct too with this topic. And it’s less hard. I don’t think about when posting, or finding best hashtags, etc… When I feel it, I do it, even if it’s not the right time. I don’t know if it will work for me. I just know that I love living like that, with this freedom in my head. If it’s meant to be, it will. If not, I would have enjoyed the journey instead of knocking my head on walls built by others.”
“I don’t have any high education. I was in the worse college in my town, and I left when I was 16. I hated school. The only great teacher was an English teacher and I love English so much. Travelling and watching movies in English did work. I always had a big instinct, but always have been belittled until I didn’t know if I was completely insane. I recovered. And when I look back in time, I found out that when things worked for me, it was always when I refused to make concessions on what I was deeply feeling, even when people (some experts) were telling me I was mad. I guess that should be my rule: no concessions on what I feel is right or wrong. Art helped me to meet this feeling again.”
“I work five sometimes six days a week. When I’m on a roll in the studio there is no time, I could keep working. If I don’t come home and be with my family and be grounded in my home life, I burn out. I know this from experience. Balance is the key for me to be able to keep creating my work year after year from an honest place.”
Goals & cycles
“I seem to work in cycles and focus on one thing at a time. That way I can really get my head and heart into what I’m doing. I’m not one of those people that can multitask very well. I go through a wave of making working very intensely, then photographing it, then marketing it. I teach only weekend workshops now so that I can focus on that intensely, then it’s done for another month or two. I have a plan for what I want to accomplish each day and readjust it when I need to. I have 3-months and 6-months goals also. I find if I don’t have a goal or a rough structure I tend to take too long on things and get easily distracted.”
“I’m always thinking of my art. I could dedicate more without my day job and it would be glorious. I approach it however as more a religion than a business. Instagram is a vehicle to share and journal progress and change. Creating art should be like a wild animal living in the jungle. If you are not creating as in moving you are the prey. Make art constantly. Never stop.”
The animal metaphor
“Not being the prey, unless it pertained to school where theft of ideas was rampant after blatant over criticism and a lack of originality being pursuant to solving a problem.
I have seen art as a meal. One is either eating or thinking of eating. You are either creating art or thinking of creating it. If you are not thinking about it or doing it, you are not an artist. Placing a wild animal with raw naturalistic instincts and placing them in a zoo is akin to placing an artist in a school with a curriculum designed much like any other school.
Extract the most money and cookie, cut everyone in one stroke to place them in some kind of industry. That is not art; it is not natural; nor is it right. Look at most of the pedigree artists. They are trying to regain their instinctual creative impulses but they are domestically trained animals commanding or creating nothing unique. That is more in line with what I failed to convey in my initial response.”
Importance of regularity
“I work very regularly: two days on then one day off. Each day on has two sessions lasting an hour and a half each. If I don’t have the third day off I don’t feel fresh and the work goes badly. Every now and again I break these rules but I almost always regret it.”
A sort of productivity
“I don’t have major issues with self-discipline. Sometimes I’m not in a very productive mood and I know there’s no point trying to force it as I’ll just end up wasting materials. At other times I know I’m just being lazy and that when I get started I’ll get into it, so I prod myself.
I live in Brazil. The summer is intolerably hot so I usually travel to Peru. The other seasons are perfect for painting. I’d say that for every 10 pictures I do, roughly 3 are duds, 2 are good and 5 are acceptable but unremarkable.
The matter is surely not “productivity” in itself, but the sort of productivity. That is, if the artwork produced is considered an alive then yes being productive is good. But it is better to stop altogether if you are just churning out more and more work for the sake of it.”
The most important thing is work
“In the song, “Work” on the album “Songs for Drella”, John Cale & Lou Reed quote Andy as saying, “the most important thing is work”. And I have to agree. The more you produce (and produce well, in my estimation), the more the law of averages seems to turn in your favor. Lady Fortuna is funny that way, she really does reward hard work. There’s no getting around it. If you’re an artist, you gotta punch the clock and work hard like everybody else. And hopefully, it’s a labour of love!”
A sort of productivity
“I work almost every day but alas, it’s only 1/3 art, the other 2/3 is rat race stuff. Not exactly ideal but I’m usually undeterred… except when I can’t because of physical limitations, where there were none before. I usually “rest” Sunday or Monday… I like actually painting at night because it’s quiet and peaceful, whereas sketching seems to be more of a daylight thing with coffee somehow. I also invent things and write.”
“These days it just depends on whether or not I can actually “work” on any given day. In the old days, it was painting strictly nights and sketching days. I have always had an intuitive sense of when I’m slacking & then I make myself go burn candles. I work in marathon shifts until I finish a piece. I barely get to create 1/3 of the time, the other 2/3 seems to be all what else.”
More about Geza Brunow
Feeling super inspired
“I think it’s a delicate balance between commitment to a goal, and recognition of how far one can extend themselves. I have a regular schedule I paint on, and I show up for that whether or not I’m feeling super inspired. The goal is to have the energy of creativity, of inspiration, always find me working. It’s not that I should work all the time, but that I have committed a significant portion of my time to this practice and I show up for that commitment with discipline.”
“Lots of people love the thrill of last-minute pressure. Power to them. For me, that much pressure is hazardous to my health. But devoting myself to constant practice and time allows me to notice how much work I generate on average, to plan for how much work I will have available and when, and gives my creativity a safe place to blossom and play before I need to put it out in the world.”
Define creativity: Scheduling
“I’m a parent and I also work part-time, so just to be clear this is not a full-time art schedule. I have 4 days a week I devote to art, 3-5 hours a day. I paint in the mornings from 9, 1 or 2 hours a day. I work on multiple pieces at a time – right now I am working on 7 pieces. As each piece drys, I move on to the next. I generate approximately 10 pieces a month. Sometimes more or less, but that’s the average. So right now I am applying for shows in the fall. I know that if I sell my entire stock this summer, I will have 30 pieces available in Sept for my fall shows/art fairs.”
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