The ancient Greeks believed creativity to be something that resulted when a person was bereft of their senses. Goddesses controlled the creation of art and literature and spoke to the artist as their muse. In reality sometimes the subject itself acts as the muse and when you give a group of creatives the same task you will get very different outcomes – as many as the number of artists involved.
I attended the opening of an art exhibition at Tacit Galleries in Collingwood recently because a friend had a piece in the show. I had not read the blub about it before I arrived at The Exquisite Palette and the demonstration of creativity and divergent thinking in the exhibition blew me away.
Hundreds of artists took a simple blank plywood artists palette to use to create an artwork. The palette’s became a playground for the imagination of the participants, and were indeed exquisite. No two palettes were alike but all shone with the passion and inspiration of the artists. One palette was untouched except for a pencil sketch of a cats head stuck to it with masking tape. It was as if the artist had mocked the process itself. Some were painted with scenes that inspired the creators and incorporated the palette hole into the design. Others were completely deconstructed and no longer recognizable from their original form. Palettes ranged from playful, through elegant, novel and disturbing and used a range of materials from paint to pewter to blood, glass, shells and feathers.
When you speak to creatives their processes are as varied as the number of artists themselves across all art forms. Regardless of whether the creative output is painting, sculpture, writing or design within industry the process begins with a seeding incident, something that inspires curiosity and exploration.
I know that when I write, the starting point is usually either a strong feeling, an image that sticks in my mind or a snippet of a conversation that sparks my imagination. I rarely know where the idea will go, or indeed how I will get there but the seed of inspiration is what drives productivity in creation.
The initial inspiration for the book I have been working on (for what seems like forever now) came from a mashing together of an incident I saw cycling home one day and a conversation with a work colleague. I let the story take me in the first draft and expect that the end product (if I ever get there) will only contain a shadow of the original spark as development of ideas themselves change and evolve as they progress. Someone else who had the exact same two experiences might have written a romance or science fiction novel. I was drawn to crime fiction.
The rewrite of the opening of my story which I mentioned in an earlier blog was partly inspired by a throw away comment a friend made over lunch. I manipulated it into a new context to develop a new character and a different path into the story. Like a blank palette, a comment or a visual stimulus can bend into new forms and ideas to inspire us in new ways and create fresh works of art.
How does your process begin?
Images in order:
Sue Beyer – Xanadu;
Jen Drysdale – P’ulur’ette;
Susan Barbic – Paper Boat;
Lino Savery – Unfortunate Death (from set of three);
Various artists – wall of palettes at Tacit Galleries.