Creativity Myth #4: Creativity is reserved for the “high arts” only.

This Fall Quarter, students enrolled in Courtney Putnam’s HUMAN 210 course (part one in the year-long series to produce Cascadia’s creative arts magazine Yours Truly) are reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and debunking common myths about creativity, myths that Gilbert addresses in her book. In the following post, Cascadia students Lien and Olivia  address the myth that creativity is reserved for the “high arts” only.

A High Low Sight
by Olivia Habdas and Lien Pham

My mama said don’t be a dreamer
                                                    My dada said don’t be a burdener
Sorry to break it
                                                    Mama, Dada I am both of those myths
Day dreamer, night burdener.
                                                    —Lien Pham

lienflowerMy life is a piece of art and so are you, You, and YOU. I have not changed the world by any means. I have cereal in the morning, sometimes with apple juice, other times with orange juice. I have family, friends, and know many people, but can’t remember their names. I know, it sounds normal, it sounds boring, it sounds repetitive. Well, you can blame the cereal inventors who made their products so damn delicious. But think twice: you are you and no one else can be you or pretend to be you.

“I have cereal in the morning, sometimes with apple juice, others times with orange juice.”

We are living in the “attention black hole,” the universe vacuum of acknowledgements. Many want to be noticed, want to be popular. Hey, we forgot that we are already being noticed, being popular. We have people who care about us, people who want us to be well. Some of us have a piece of creativity here and there. Some come with the tattoos we decorate ourselves with and some come with the relationships we have, while others have their great selfies, Snapchats, or just randomly put a smile on someone’s face. Let me tell you! Those parts of your life are not always easy—they require creativity, effort, and YOUR own self. It is just like Elizabeth Gilbert’s message from Big Magic: “Are you considering becoming a creative person? Too late, you already are one.”

tattoosBeing a creative person doesn’t necessary mean you intend on creating a perfect masterpiece. An ugly mistake can later turn into a creative piece of art. One great example is the tattoo. Done spur of the moment at the age of 18, I just wanted a tattoo. Over the years, it started to bleed ink and turned into a big black blob. After taking it into a tattoo artist who knew what they were doing, it became a new piece of art that improved my ugly mistake.

Art doesn’t need to be reserved for the “high arts” only. Art is everything around you, from the trees turning colors in the Fall, to the graffiti tagged on city buildings. Everyone has their own way of interpreting art. As Gilbert states, “Your own reasons to create are reasons enough.” It does not matter what you create; it matters that you create it and that it has meaning to you.

An ugly mistake can turn into a beautiful art piece.”

Now take a minute to reflect, grab a piece of paper and pen, and draw how you feel. This is art. You drew something that has meaning to you. The art you create doesn’t have to be “high art” or even something well known and meaningful to others. It just has to have meaning to you.

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