Tag: reading

On Creativity

by on Dec.15, 2009, under Short Essays


Tonight I was driving home in thick fog from a friend’s place when I wondered to myself why some people are so much more creative than others? Is it their upbringing or something more? I  would consider myself creative, but there are people on a whole other level and it can give me a headache on how they are able to achieve such a massive delineation from everyday life.

I grew up in an environment that facilitated creativity but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it cultivated it. Growing up I played soccer on one or two teams at a time. In sixth grade I began playing the upright bass and continued on through twelfth grade. I enjoyed playing and instrument, but I didn’t love it. In eleventh grade it was almost a chore, we played an asinine amount of school concerts and community event. This schedule, mixed in with soccer, unfortunately pushed me away from my interest in playing the bass. In twelfth grade I took an art class which I thoroughly enjoyed. In this class we did pottery the first semester and assorted paper art projects the second. We had one project in which we had to make paper mâché masks. Most of the masks were pretty ordinary aside from a few, mine included. Most people made very basic looking masks resembling real animals whereas mine was a dread-locked predator with bloodshot eyes centered with a glass bead. This was my first experience with painting layers to create depth, and I enjoyed it.

In college I started out a biomedical science student but I changed my major after 2 1/2 years. This change was pretty drastic: to theatre. This 180 degree turn happened because I decided to take a summer class as an elective. I really enjoyed it. That fall I took half science classes, half theatre classes, and in spring only theatre. I enjoyed doing these new artsy things, it was very free and obviously lifted a lot of stress off my shoulders. Science was fun and interesting, but it didn’t really make me happy.

My third year in college I had a chance encounter with an artist at the checkout in Wal Mart, his name, oddly enough, was Art. He said to me, “Hey man, do you paint?” I said, “You mean walls or art?” He said art then I joked about his name. He suggested that I buy some of those cardboard canvases and try some things out. I like to think I have a quasi-abstract mind and that’s how I started painting. I bought a few brushes and oils and started experimenting with some techniques.  Soon after, I became pretty addicted to painting, probably spending $25 a week on art supplies. I began buying real canvases and tried my best to spend more time on them, but I found this pretty hard. I always wanted a finished product and never really spent more than 4-6 hours on a painting. I began accumulating so many canvases I started selling them on Ebay. They would usually go for around 25-75 dollars, so I thought I was doing ok. The people I lived with enjoyed my work and unknowingly pushed me to find my style.

Once I graduated I moved back home for the summer and didn’t paint once, I was creatively dry.

I moved to Orlando for my second degree and the drought continued for almost a year. My roommate was a pretty talented graphic artist and had a project in which he used one of the old practice canvases from my past. The art flame was once again relit, for a while. When he moved out my creativity was again lost, and in the last year I have only painted two times, one was given to a friend as a gift and the other was probably one of my best works.

Looking at this from the outside it is apparent to see that I need a cultivator to grow creatively, something I really haven’t had in my life. There is a difference between someone that tells you that you’re doing a good job and someone that convinces you to push further and feeds the drive. To grow creatively, I must somehow find someone who can push me and I now realize, that person is me.

Obviously, I wish to do more than just paint. Developing my writing and filming skills are also things very important to me. I want to be known for my talents, not necessarily famous, but well respected in the creative community.

I find it interesting but understandable that some of the most creative people I know have often had a tumultuous upbringing. The struggle seems to be one of creativity’s best influences, something I have never really had to deal with, perhaps a blessing in disguise. I had a very smooth and “normal” upbringing while the most creative people I know had to deal with game changing issues like divorce or death in the immediate family. People in these situations have no choice but to be creative, an escape from their own hard reality. Since I always felt loved and never felt like I needed to escape from something quite so dramatic. It was unnecessary for me to create an alternate reality, whether it be via painting, shooting video, writing or something so simple as reading a book.

I like to read, but only in the past few years have I had an interest in fiction. That interest was brought on by my decision to take an advanced reading class in college. I originally took this class to help me in my script reading abilities, it turned out however, that this one semester would help push me to read and write fiction.

Since I’m not a tortured soul and rarely find it necessary to escape my own reality, the next best thing I can do is just keep working at it. Write something at least a little gripping every day. Paint more often. Go out of my way to be a visionary. Those who succeed in this regard have the drive. I too have the drive, it just sometimes needs a push start. I have faith in myself, my work and my ideals and will keep pushing fourth towards my goals for creativity and success, even if it takes my entire life……

*Above is a painting I did a few years ago.

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