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Is creativity teachable? Can it be learned beyond the craft of technique?


Creativity is ...

“the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations, etc.” (The Random House Dictionary)

"original ideas that have value". (Sir Ken Robinson)


First to introduce “digital lifestyle products”. Most differed from the “beliefs” at the time, they did not meet “customer needs”, rather they created them. The Apple, Lisa and Macintosh home computers, the mouse and the desktop icons, the high performance computer NeXT (with its support role in the creation of the www), object-focused computer programming, the OS/OSX operating systems, iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, systems integration across all these, … the impeccably clean and functional design, offered under the Apple logo with a (computer-) bite, and the slogan “Think Different” (not “differently”). Steve Jobs (1955-2011) thought “Different”.

Given up for adoption, non-conformist life-style, Hinduism and Zen, 1968, veggie, college drop-out, he copies what he finds useful (Atari, HP, Xerox, etc.), from childhood invents stuff (gadget to circumvent phone charges), independent, loves to swim against the stream, understands the holistic, the interdependencies, but also executes the detail, demanding, intolerant of the mediocre, no “nice guy”, he chooses “The Road not Taken” (Robert Frost).

Malcolm Caldwell’s “Outliers” posits that excellence and originality are primarily a function of hard work and persistence. Yet, for the real McCoy, it may not hurt to have some of Steve Jobs’ genes.

Picasso said, we are all born creative artists and spoil it as we grow up. So says Sir Ken Robinson - click for his humor and wisdom on creativity, and how we need to fix our educational systems, so that the young remain creative as they grow up. 

Karl Maenz, 20 March 2014 www.karl-maenz.com Click for video    
Thoughts on Creativity and Learning

I will continue to offer encouragement to others who paint or create art or design.
Anyone who works and plays in this most difficult metier deserves recognition.
Credibility is based on honesty and truth in one’s intent.
If it is passion for beauty and creativity, proceed.
If it is for fame or fortune through lies or deception, get out.

Skill and craft can be learned with intensive dedication and commitment to a love and a passion.
It is the form or the formalities of a work.
Facility for the creativity of an idea, a meaning, a message can also be learned by the same commitment and dedication.
It is the content or the purpose of a work.
If one can make the marriage where each supports the other, this may be success.

Creativity is not a private club.
There have been billions upon billions of us living on this piece of mud flying through space.
No two have been the same.
Each has had their shot at being unique and creative in their daily doings, every day of their life, in everything they have done.

Nobody is self taught.
If you had parents, you had teachers.
We learn every day until we die.
With that toolbox, we make things, we express ourselves and we fix things to make them agreeable to our way of life.
Teaching on teaching, learning on learning, sharing on sharing.
Change is the only constant.
It is just that simple.

Tom Bluhm, 23 March 2014 www.tombluhm.com  


The most powerful force on this planet is the human urge to create. It is born of the necessity to survive and has evolved from the innate desire for control over environment and destiny. To this end, man's manipulation of nature, (especially his own species) has often been of urgent opposition and aggression. Paradoxically, the state of war and oppression, which results from his political and religious machinations, has always been best recorded through his finest artistic achievements. But now the weakening of his religious instincts and the growing awareness of his precarious position as a life form has engendered an increasing neurosis on many levels of his society. The twentieth century has seen the greatest changes in the shortest passage of his history; from the most barbaric forces of war to the most incredible progress in scientific invention. Such a period has also meant that the artist, as the hitherto representative of the physical norm with all its attendant academic rules and aesthetic theory, is no longer a leading force in the development of intellectual awareness.

However, I believe it important to remember that nature is its own force and purpose, and that the expression of that force and purpose is infinite creativity. While artistic mimesis or representation for purposes of identification may no longer be an important factor in the greater scheme of human progress, the work of art is still a necessary projection of nature-through-man. The creative impulse is fundamental to human survival as a means of persistent biological, intellectual and spiritual fulfilment. It serves to reinforce his identity by generating reassurance of an existential purpose. Art is not a mere representation of life but more an anticipatory expression which, by expanding our vision of existence, strengthens confidence in our enduring progress. It is no longer concerned with just the physical and related aspects of human existence but with the deeper untapped levels of imagination and the unconscious. Art, along with all other aspects of human development, must evolve far beyond any previous states of knowledge and growth. Instead of being a language of conventionalized knowledge (relative only to the past) it must be a language in search of absolute knowledge (relative only to the future) and therefore stand elusively, yet compellingly, just beyond the intellectuality of the present. It must function as a stimulus to enquiry rather than a record of realization and carry an awareness of the universal rather than the temporal and regional. It must enquire into the unconscious forming of our thought-patterns and languages and work with science in the primary endeavour of erecting our sanctuaries of the future.

I have come to believe that the true function of the artist (alongside of the scientist) is to continually knock at the door of the unknown. To ensure that his knocking gains a response the artist must always maintain a sense of loyalty to his inner necessity. He must continually project his innate vision of being, a vision which must not fall victim to the urges of compromise or be altered in an effort towards popular taste and approval. Whatever great universality is projected through a work of art, it is always only one individual's subjective effort towards a conclusion. If the intelligence and intuition of that individual succeeds in rendering a new and vital truth, then it will only be realized through the passing of time and the ongoing expansion of human consciousness and, as has so often been proven, the greater the truth - the longer the time.

In this light, then, I have come to terms with my own compulsion to create. I believe that this continuing urge to express is a primal force in its ongoing search for future absolutes. This force is its own appetite, feeding through the creator on all levels of conscious and unconscious perception, and, more importantly, on itself. Its result is the absolute (as opposed to the relative) and it is this that is expressed and possibly communicated through me in the name of art.

'Absolute' knowledge is more an intuition than knowledge, in fact it is intuitional understanding beyond knowledge and its purpose lies in the stimulation of future relative knowledge. Relative knowledge is founded on our conscious perception of relationships; past and present, time and place, positive and negative, etc, and is useful only on a comparative or retrospective basis. Absolute knowledge, on the other hand, is the hitherto unseen and unknown. It has no relation to conventionalized knowledge and emerges as a new phenomena of nature; a new truth of existence, to be assimilated into human intelligence and ultimately allocated its place in our relative world. Nature is always a state of 'becoming', a continuing flux of creative dynamics of which we, the humans, are the best result to date. However, the evolution of the human is also the evolution of illusion, and the greatest illusion of all (through ego and intellect) is mans detachment of himself from nature. Whatever we may believe or think we know, there is one great undeniable fact; that nature is absolute and man is only one small part of it. Any knowledge that we have gleaned through our evolution and intellection can only be relative, and therefore subsequent to that ‘absolute’.

Trusting that this may stimulate further comment!

Keith Morant, 25 March 2014 www.morantart.com  
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Paola Trevisan | Trevisan International Art | via Giovanni Falcone 227/B | 45036 Ficarolo (RO), Italy | click to email