by Sage Moore and Kayla Swails, Cascadia Students
Creativity. The word that tends to evoke a similar string of images. A painter dabbing color onto their next great masterpiece, a musician completing the most difficult piece ever, or an inebriated writer hammering/scribbling away at life changing future classics. After that comes the even more common phrase—I’m not/I wish I were creative, and variations thereof.
Do a thing for me. Take a deep breath in. Hold it, let your body do its thing. Now, let it out. Congratulations. You just created something.
But I didn’t, you say, all I did was transform oxygen into carbon dioxide.
This is either going to be blatantly obvious or a massive revelation, perhaps both: Creativity is not making new things. It’s changing existing things into something generally cooler. The things can be anything. Van Gough reformed his insanity into Starry Night, Hemingway twisted his thoughts on aging into The Old Man and the Sea, and Chris Motionless arranged his ideas about pursuing identity into, well, every song he’s ever written.
Alright, so I lied, a common thread exists here. Every aforementioned piece of art transformed the artist’s feelings.
Feelings. The crux of all art. Artists artify what they feel in their chosen medium and chosen way. People enjoy art because it evokes and displays their feelings, simple or complex.
Now, unless you are very high on the psychopathic spectrum, you, reader, have feelings. Thus, you are 150% capable of being creative. Don’t scoff at that statement. Don’t even think about how you will never paint the next Mona Lisa, or be a renowned fashion designer. That is not the point.
Here is the single most important sentence in this post: Creativity and talent are not one in the same.
Some people are lucky enough to be creative and talented, whether naturally or through hard work. However, I’m confident saying that every “creative” person pulls their artwork from somewhere inside themselves, whether it be directly from their emotions, or through their thoughts on a piece of the world around them. There’s no element of talent to that, only perspective and questioning.
The trick is to ask why. Ask why again. After that, ask what. This is just going about your everyday life. Ask yourself what you like about that tree. It’s a nice-ass tree, but what does it evoke? It can be as simple as an aesthetically pleasing symmetry, or as complex as reminding you of modern society’s slow decay. Then, you can play with that thought. Take a good look at it, dig deeper. Ask what it looks like, or if you’re having trouble visualizing it, describe it. There’s the starting point of creativity. It can be carried all the way to creating something physical, or it can stay as is. There is plenty of creative thought in appreciating art and the world around us.
Sometimes, achieving this state of mind can take a niche. As a personal example, I was never particularly inspired by music. I enjoyed music, but there was never any deeper thought or meaning to it, until I stumbled into rock music. Something in that style clicked for me, and it became a huge supplement to my existing creativity. In a broader spectrum situation, someone may not feel like they can translate their thoughts into an abstract painting, which can be a very wet rag on their confidence. But, put them in a kitchen, and they can put together a dish that embodies their thoughts, and there we have an artist.
So I encourage you to try everything, because there are so many ways to let others inside your head for a moment. The typical culprits are visual art, and writing. These are the standard mediums for a reason, because it is easy to pick up a paintbrush or a pen and go at it with zero instruction. Many find it easiest to translate visually and verbally as well. But, for those who don’t click with either, there is always music, culinary arts, and dance, to name a few. While these usually require some equipment or instruction to get started, they are some of the most expressive mediums. Be sure to check out the rest of the posts coming to this blog, they’ll tell you all about tons of everyday ways to be creative, from the ones mentioned to the more unexpected.
If physical manifestations really aren’t for you, then there is still abundant creativity in wandering through life, musing over the world and the creations of others. Art lovers are creative types, as are book addicts or audiophiles, though they don’t actually make anything of their own. This is the easiest, and in many ways the most fulfilling way to add creativity into your life—merely changing your perspective on your thoughts.
Being “creative” is more than just forming art. Its root in deep thoughts and emotions makes it a way of living, a way of interacting with the world around you. Putting it into your everyday life is as easy as discovering how your feelings manifest, finding what medium works for them, even forgoing all of that and immersing yourself in looking beyond the face value of something. There is no masterpiece, no talent, no fame, or level of quirkiness required to be creative. If you feel creative, if you can get yourself to that point, you’re there.
Breathe in, breathe out, and make some carbon dioxide. Congratulations, you’re creative. It’s nothing more than a state of mind.
For more on this student blogging project, visit the Everyday Creative page!