Blog: Object Culture Part XVI- Creativity and Art

Christine Alfery

Posted on March 10 2021

Blog: Object Culture Part XVI- Creativity and Art

Featured image: Colors in the Middle

The power of art lies in creativity. How an artist rearranges combinations of “real” or “natural” or “existing” elements in a unique way is the only creative power that an artist possesses. It is an enormous power and a glorious power. It is the only meaning of the concept creative. Artists cannot create something from nothing.
I used to think that I could approach a blank sheet of paper or a blank canvas and “invent/create” something on that canvas that had never existed before. I was actually taught that in college, to set my mind free, think of nothing and just do something. I have heard artists today, in fact I myself have said it in the past, "I don’t have a preconceived idea when I begin to paint. I just begin painting." Jackson Pollack’s work is centered on that idea. But, you cannot create something from nothing. You just can’t. So while you think you are coming from nothing, you aren’t. There is always something there when an artist approaches that blank canvas or paper. 

It is just impossible to perceive something that isn’t something. This logic has been around for a long time. A is A. How do I know A is A? In order for you to even perceive that A is A, you need to be aware that it exists. If you are not aware that it exists, it is impossible for you to perceive A. A cannot think itself, unless A exists. Think about this…. You cannot think A is A unless you think it. If you think you are thinking of nothing when you approach a blank canvas – you are not, because you can’t even think you are thinking nothing without thinking something. It is the old philosophical theory, "if a tree falls in the woods will it be heard?"

Anyway, it's fun logic. The scary thing is that many of us were taught that very thing to clear our minds, make them a blank slate and allow things to happen – there is never a blank slate.

By absorbing that teaching we lost the power to be creative. To create means that the artist has the power to bring into existence an arrangement of elements that had previously not existed, in that particular way. So, an artist can never copy what another artist does because they aren’t approaching a blank slate. The very idea that they are copying means the slate isn’t blank. But, then, they also cannot copy exactly because they aren’t that artist. When Pollock did this for the first time he was being creative. He created by rearranging ideas, concepts and elements of what was his history and put them together in a “different” way. After the first one was created, which could be considered “art” as it was new and unique, rearranged with a “different” way of thinking about something, but with his variations of the same technique over and over again they lost their power. They lost their uniqueness, their one-of-a-kindness, their creativity, there artiness. That is why I have always emphasized that art is something unique and one of a kind, individualized like the self and the soul are.

But, this fact doesn’t only exist in the arts, it exists in science, also. Our creative imaginings are just the rearranging of things into something different and unique. The power of the concept of art is creativity.

The interesting thing about this is that when an artist or a scientist chooses to “think differently” and rearrange something according to how they visualize something could work, this rearranging is not common. The artist or scientist, if they truly are an artist, do not create common things. The very idea that they rearranged the common to make it uncommon is what makes it unique and original. , Their great creations often are not accepted by others. Their creations are opposed to and often rejected.

In researching that fact, I found that when the first motor was invented, it was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible and anesthesia was sinful. There are many others. All of our great thinkers felt rejection. I think of Edison, Jobs, Wozniak, The Beatles and the list goes on and on. But artists, true artists, and scientists forged ahead anyway. And, many did not feel they needed to serve others because those others simply rejected them. They were rejected because they disturbed the norm.

So, don’t give up the power of creativity, thinking you can create something from nothing because you can’t. And don’t give up the power of creativity because you visualize something differently than others. There are others who have taken the same path.

The most important thing is to stay true to yourself, your soul and create to your hearts delight.

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