“I’m not really a creative person”
“I didn’t get any creative genes”
“I’m not from a creative family”
Do you ever find yourself feeling like you don’t have the right to create art?
Don’t have the right to be creative?
We ALL have a creative heritage
In our day and age it’s common for us to be passive consumers, working long hours in non-creative jobs only to come home and passively watch TV. And to buy.
But, as Elizabeth Gilbert points out, you only have to go back a couple of generations in your own family to find ‘people who spent their lives making things’.
In it Gilbert makes the point that:
“The earliest evidence of recognisable human art is forty thousand years old. The earliest evidence of human agriculture, by contrast, is only ten thousand years old. Which means that somewhere in our collective evolutionary story, we decided it was way more important to make attractive, superfluous items than it was to learn how to regularly feed ourselves.”
I remember being struck by a similar thought when I saw this phenomenal piece of ice age art from the Brisitsh Museum:
13,000 years ago (yes, that’s not a typo, it’s really thirteen thousand years ago) an ice age person carved these two beautiful swimming reindeer into a mammoth’s tusk.
Our understanding of creativity has got restricted
Thinking about our deep creative natures, reminded me of the fascinating book I read earlier this year, ‘Red Moon’ by Miranda Grey.
Grey writes that our current culture has a restricted view of creativity which focuses on the end product rather than the experience itself.
And with this view, creativity is often given low priority in people’s lives.
But a better definition finds creativity in the process of giving form:
“It is the giving of form to the experience of your inner self in relation to the world around you, whether in a tangible form such as the creation of a child or a painting or in an intangible form such as an idea, a relationship or a dance’ – Miranda Grey
So to be creative is ‘not just to produce physically, but also to produce mental awareness’
It is, in short, creativity is part of what makes us human.
It’s in our nature. Every single one of us.
In the past creative expression was a feature of everyday life. As Grey points out:
“In museums, the modern person is often struck by the beauty of the decoration with which ancient cultures covered the most basic and menial artefacts. For those earlier cultures art was an expression of life and was reflected in their own lives at every level.”
So if we drop the modern fixation on the end product, we can accept that all forms of creative expression have equal validity, so an:
‘amateur painting with little technical skill is as valid as a professional painting of great skill, and the writing of a love poem is as valid as creating a solution to a problem or baking a cake.’
And if we deny this most human feature of our lives, it will find out outlet – in frustration or even destruction in an area of our lives. It’s there inside us whether we use it positively or not.
So if you needed permission to express your creativity, here it is.
Now, what act of creativity expression, big or small, are you going to engage in today (or this weekend)?
Let me know below!
P.S – I’ll leave you with an interesting interview with Gilbert about her Big Magic book here: