raw creativity, part 2

July 8, 2010

Oops, almost forgot that I wrote a "part one" a few days back that would call for a "part two." So, more thoughts on raw creativity. Deep down, I long for creativity in its most pure form of expression. I had a few glimpses of this the other week. One was online, where I came across an artist collective, a group of artists that collaborate on joint projects. Their whole purpose for existing is to get back to the basics that drew them to art in the first place...things like innovation, play, experimentation, etc. They feel like somewhere along the way their work got a bit too mechanical, a bit too rote, and the life force in it was drained. They want to recover that creative "spark" that was there when they first began creating, and they want to do it jointly. I think this is a cool idea.

Another glimpse of this raw creativity came in an announcement about an interactive performance in Pershing Square in downtown LA this past weekend. Over the span of two hours, 20 actors were to rotate between 5 platforms, announcing their "status" through simple megaphones as they assumed the platform. Other actors or park-goers could then approach the platform and either "like" or comment on the update, opening up the performance for interaction and dialogue. As each update or conversation petered out, the actor would step down, creating space for another actor or park-goer to ascend. This pattern was to be repeated until the performance either ended or was taken over by the public. Now, this isn't necessarily an event I was interested in attending per se, but I found the idea creative and a unique way to make a commentary on facebook and the type of interaction it solicits. And obviously, it was being put on for the sake of pure creative expression.

And whenever I see creativity in its purest form, where expression for the sake of expression is placed first, I resonate with it. And I want to experience it too. Not a muted form of creating, where I am just going through the motions, experiencing maybe a little synchronicity here and there. I want full on synchronicity, where my soul is in charge, not my head. This is the experience of creating that is most joyful and peace-filled for me.

So, all these thoughts come into play in my life as I've been having discussions with artists lately about balancing the "work" side of art with the creating side. All the things necessary to get your work out there can sometimes start to heavily dominate the time you get to spend creating. I've heard many artists say they end up spending roughly 70% of their time on the business side of things and 30% on the creating. I am thinking about this as I spend more and more time on showing work, selling it, emailing, networking, finding new venues, and yes, even blogging. All these things are necessary to some degree, if you desire your art to be out in the world and have a voice. But I am curious to see how this balance will continue to evolve for me and how I will preserve the part of it that brings me the most life. I'm sure it will look different in different seasons, as most things do. But I do know it will be important to monitor the life level in my heart. When it gets too low, creating becomes mechanical. And if creating is mechanical, then what's the point? Why not do a 9 to 5 mechanical job that will hand you a paycheck every two weeks? At least you're getting that back. In my opinion, if you're going to pursue creativity, it needs to be life-giving, not only for you, but also as a gift to others.

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