Sunday, 8 February 2009

Toxicity and Creativity

I am about as toxic as I get right now. Something has gone wrong the last few days and my body is struggling. I am so glad my next lymphatic massage is this week. Since Wednesday i have been hungry and salads have not been cutting it... My legs have swollen and been sore, my feet are sore. My skin is awful. I have felt cold. Nodes in my throat came up. I probably had a bit of the nasty throat bug my colleagues have had. They are a lot fitter and healthier than me but I didn't come down with it fully. All the same, I havn't felt this toxic in a loooong time.

This means I have felt pretty tired today. I have had a day of housework and creativity with a little food and bathing thrown in for good measure. Either that or creativity is really quite tiring.

I have been thinking about my creativity today as well. I come from three generations of printers and it has taken me a long time to understand that some of my gifts are the things that made them good at what they did. I have realised that I know how to lay things out on a page and that this would have been vital to them as they set type. Balancing things on a page might not seem much of an art but when I produce a document, I just feel how to make it balance and sometimes doing it a different way feels wrong.

I have quite a mathematical brain, I am a scientist who started by studying Physics. I found this a little detached from the real world and switched to Environmental Science. I love geometry. I even worked as a CAD operator at one point. Form and shape appeal to me. As a teen I was fascinated by celtic knotwork which is a real geometrical treat. I never quite got on to constructing some of the really intricate spirals but I love all this. The simplicity of the forms gives such a complicated and intricate result.

I nearly became a mechanical engineer at one point. I like structure as well. As part of a course I was on, we had to construct a papier mache mask. Using a cardboard base you build up the underlying structure using anything you have on hand and lots and lots of masking tape to hold it all together before covering it with glue and paper. I really enjoyed the task but it was obvious that my mask was a little different from the others. The others were much more arty while mine was much more structural. They had felt their masks while I had built mine.

The art I create that is the best, in my mind, is that which draws on my talents of form and structure and geometry but I desire that arty creative force as well. Even my jewellery making can be seen as a logical exercise in combining stitches to make forms. I think I approach creativity as a scientist in many ways. I trained so long as one. In many ways I don't want to undo that training, I want to make my mind even more flexible.

While at college there was a particular display in the college's museum and gallery that reinforced this for me a little. It was a display of work my various members of staff. I remember the work of one very eminent scientist in particular. He has produced technically fantastic line drawings of local places. They were so precise and perfect. They could have been photographs digitally convereted into line drawings. Were they creative or technical drawings?

I guess the root of these thoughts is what exactly is creativity and how does it relate to artyness and technical skill? Is pure application of technical skill artistic? Is it creative? If a computer creates random images of circles overlapping each other of different colours, is this creative?

I guess, for now, I am just practicing and the whole question is academic. I create and therefore I am creative. Are debates such as this toxic? Do they imply that some creativity is better than others? Do they discourage people from creating for the pure enjoyment of it? Are there many more repressed scientists out their, bottling up their creativity until poisons them from within?

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