Am I Creative

Am I Cre­ative? Reflect­ing on my own cre­ativ­ity, I have always thought myself a cre­ative per­son. Start­ing at a young age I learned to play the flute and was very suc­cess­ful through­out my high school career cul­mi­nat­ing in a solo per­for­mance with a local sym­phony and many music schol­ar­ships for col­lege. I wanted to take art classes in high school but my aca­d­e­mic sched­ule was filled with required classes and music. Unfor­tu­nately, and my one true regret in lifeI did not pur­sue a col­lege edu­ca­tion in music (flute) per­for­mance, with the ulti­mate goal of becom­ing an orches­tral flutist. Instead, I wan­dered off to col­lege major­ing in biol­ogy feel­ing a great loss of pas­sion for the one thing that made me happy.

“endroits” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2012

endroits” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2012

Mihaly Czik­szent­mi­ha­lyi, author of Cre­ativ­ity: Flow and the Psy­chol­ogy of Dis­cov­ery and Inven­tion,would not denote my deep inter­est and tal­ent in play­ing flute as cre­ative, but rather as sim­ply hav­ing talent…as “tal­ent dif­fers from cre­ativ­ity in that it focuses on an innate abil­ity to do some­thing very well”. Okay, I can live with that def­i­n­i­tion though I much pre­fer, iron­i­cally, the state­ment by Gary Davis, author of Cre­ativ­ity is For­ever, refer­ring to Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow. Accord­ing to Davis, ““Flow” is involv­ing one­self with an activ­ity to such an extent that noth­ing else seems to mat­ter – the expe­ri­ence itself is intensely enjoy­able”. And that is how I felt play­ing and per­form­ing the flute – com­plete and utter flow, that until read­ing Davis, did not know or under­stand what it meant – the feel­ing of com­plete and absolute free­dom from think­ing, from wor­ry­ing – hav­ing the abil­ity to be in the moment and enjoy the cre­ative out­put.

“fall floor” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2012

fall floor” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2012

Just over three years ago I picked up a paint brush for the first time. I thought about paint­ing for many years and dab­bled in water­color, mak­ing jew­elry, and paper crafts, but always had an inter­nal urge to paint. So I sim­ply reg­is­tered for a com­mu­nity edu­ca­tion class in acrylic paint­ing and was for­tu­nate to have a very knowl­edgable and edu­cated instruc­tor. I ended up tak­ing the class six times before she booted me out (nicely) stat­ing there was noth­ing else I could learn from her. Fast for­ward three years from that first night and now I am a mem­ber of an artist’s coöper­a­tive with my own stu­dio, have an exten­sive port­fo­lio of paint­ings, have exhib­ited over 8 times, have my own art web­site and blog and have com­pleted com­mis­sioned pieces of art. Am I going to quit my job to paint? No. Do I think I’m cre­ative? Yes. Am I a suc­cess­ful cre­ative per­son? That depends. Accord­ing to Csik­szent­mi­ha­lyi, “about five hun­dred thou­sand peo­ple in this coun­try state on their cen­sus forms that they are artists…how many of these will end up in muse­ums or in text­books on art?”. I haven’t…yet.

“the reef” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2011

the reef” — acrylic with mul­ti­ple com­pounds on can­vas, 2011

I may not be truly cre­ative accord­ing to Csik­szent­mi­ha­lyi but I much pre­fer Davis’ state­ment relat­ing to self-actualization when he states that “you need not pos­sess excep­tional artis­tic, lit­er­ary, sci­en­tific, or entre­pre­neur­ial tal­ent to con­sider your­self a cre­ative per­son and live a cre­ative life”. After com­plet­ing the self-actualization test in Davis’ book I was happy, and not sur­prised, to find that I scored in the “high self-actualization” cat­e­gory. I do con­sider myself cre­ative but it is a work in progress. I am cre­ative in cer­tain areas of my life and need to become more cre­ative in oth­ers. Only time will tell if I truly do live a cre­ative life.

Writ­ten by Ms. Renee Vevea, a cre­ative in progress.