According to several distinguished online surveys, I have a creative personality. I blame it on hours of playing with legos as a kid. Or it might have something to do with my invisible friends. Either way, I’ve always known that my view of the world was a little different than others.
A few weeks ago a group of us from church got together to paint here at the sketchouse, and we had a blast fellowshipping together while creating art. We had the idea to start up a ministry at our church as an outlet for the artsy types who often don’t have much of an outlet for our brand of creativity.
The other night we got together again to paint, and one of my friends was struggling with getting her creative side up and going. Actually, we all were, but she seemed to be taking it the hardest, equating lack of an idea with a lack of creativity. It’s hard to watch someone struggle with their creative side. It got me thinking though, and creativity is a difficult subject.
First of all, creativity is completely subjective. the only way we can really measure creativity is by comparison to others. Typically, the less an idea sounds like something that has been expressed before, the more creative it gets. I remember thinking I was a creative genius when it came to art back in high school. I was in AP Art, Independent Art Study, and the Teacher’s Aid for our art teacher (my block schedule on Tues and Fri senior year was awesome). So I was obviously very creative. That held true until I went to check out one of the art schools in downtown Seattle, where I was looking at blessing them with my creative talent during my college years. I was completely humbled when I saw what those students were producing. All of the sudden my artwork looked like church secretary bulletin clip art. Not that all church secretary bulletin clip art is bad but… well, never mind. The point being, creativity is tricky because there is always somebody more creative out there than you. I am reminded of this every time I sit down to play guitar and wonder why the things I play don’t sound as good as the songs in my collection. The important thing to remember when it comes the subjectivity of creativity is not to get caught up in who is better, but using the creativity of others to spur you on.
Secondly, it serves us well to remember that we were created by The Creator. A large part of of ‘created in His image’ is our ability to discern, and create. One of the first things God tasks Adam with is naming all of the animals, which is a great exercise in creativity. It should be noted though, that this creativity is not limited to creating art. I think some of the most creative people around are the men/women of NASA who use insane amounts of math and physics to land people on the moon.
Creativity takes courage. I think the reason so many people do not consider themselves the ‘creative type’ is because they have not been taught to use their creativity, and so there is an inherent fear of how to start. Being creative typically means going down a path that no one else has traveled before, and traveling without a map. In that light, being creative can be a daunting task.
Lastly, creativity breeds responsibility. When you crete something, your name is attached to that creation long after you have control over what it looks like. The more you realize that, the more effort and energy and effort you put into your creation. There is a reason you don’t see pics of all of my artwork on my site, because I am not proud of all of my pieces. There are some times when I am not creating at my best, and I do not want my name attached. On the other hand, when you are proud of your work, it is an exhilarating feeling to sign your name upon completion.
So my encouragement to everyone is to explore your creative side. Wether it’s taking a new route to work, ditching the old recipe, making your own picture frame, or throwing some paint on a canvas, realize that The Creator gave all of us the ability to create.
And to my friend who couldn’t think of anything to paint… thanks for the artwork for this post.
One love, one heart.
Addicted to Mediocrity / Franky Schaeffer and Kurt Mitchell
Trek / David Carson
Hello Hurricane / Switchfoot
Alter the Ending / Dashboard Confessional
The Old Prince / Shad