Inspiration & Creativity

I enjoy reading a few blogs by different Artists and Craftsman and I think I have pointed out David Duchemin‘s blog before, but I read a post from the other day (and in turn another person’s blog ) on Inspiration, it’s usage, and what is becoming of creativity.  So continuing the string that has been started here I really want to encourage you to read 2 blog posts:

First this one by Owen Shifflett entitled:

Consumption: How Inspiration Killed, Then Ate, Creativity

Now read this post by David Duchemin:

In Defence of Inspiration

So what do you think. Is inspiration a bad deal? Is creativity dead?  & Why?

15 thoughts on “Inspiration & Creativity

  1. The real issue here, as is usual, is the definition of terms. In defining inspiration should we stay true to its original meaning or realize in these changing times that inspiration is not what it once was? Searching for inspiration has, in many cases, become the label lazy artist are using to justify their lack of drive. However true inspiration is a gift from God allowing us to take what we see and then process that through a lifetime of experiences and information to create something new. I agree with Chemin when he said everything we create is derivative and that there is nothing truly original. God is the only one who purely creates. However our creations are still new and unique in the sense that it is something only we could have made. Only the very specific set of circumstances, natural dispositions, and events that shaped our creative process could have sparked to produce our inspiration. Sometimes the subtleties that make our ideas ours and no one else’s are too small to see. Every blazing camp fire is different but flames sometimes flicker too fast for us to tell. In this fast paced, media soaked, and mass produced generation it’s sometimes hard to tell, but creativity is not dead. Creativity is like that campfire. In every fire essentially the same thing is happening. Creatives also are all doing essentially the same thing. In a field like graphic design they are trying to solve the same problems. Different solutions may be reached but the need was still met. Logos may look different but they are all trying to catch the consumers attention in a memorable way. While all fires may be essentially the same thing, no two are exactly alike, there is a huge amount of variation. The appearance of the flames is determined by factors such as the amount or type of fuel, the weather conditions, the location, its purpose, etc. It is the same with creativity. All brand logos may be trying to do the same thing, but there is still a uniqueness and creativity to each one. Only God could imagine fire, but in His infinite grace he gave man the ability to control and shape it.

  2. ok, i’m not going to lie, i’m not an artist, thus i feel behind the curve but will do my best, this article made “inspiration” seem like a buzz word just like “social media” or “viral marketing” in business, something that often gets more and more mirky the more it is used, yet is used by everyone. When i personally think of inspiration, i think of being inspired, having a great idea, i don’t think of ripping off someone elses works. That being said I do think (tho again, not an artist) that inspiration can come from seeing other things, whether it be artwork or nature (God’s artwork). To be honest i don’t see anything in the art world as truly original right now, you could put a kid in a room, never letting him see any art and he would probably create something similar to someone else in history, until a new medium arrives for artists to explore there will be a lot of “sorta-new” and “semi-new” but nothing truly new. However, I don’t think this is always bad, some of the best things created are things tweaked from someone else’s idea (facebook from myspace for example) I think it just has to be original enough to be seen as its own entity (again, facebook). Also, i think that artists (at least what i’ve seen from my art friends) work VERY hard on creating new things. They wrack their brains for projects to do for art galleries etc. I don’t think they try to rip things off, but I somewhat think we’re at the point where most things have already been thought of, and PURE originality just to be original is not what true creativity is about, creativity in art is the hybrid of originality and the engaging the senses, so you need both to create something truly amazing, but with just one or just the other it will be a failure. Also, i disliked (personally) what the first guy said about the need for an idea before beginning to play around in programs, yes that maybe SOME people’s creative process, but can you really say that someone else, who gets true inspiration from playing around with things while letting his mind wander over possibilities is really worse? that seems judgemental, anyway those are the thoughts of a business major, hope they suffice

  3. Inspiration can be a funny word, depending on how it’s used. Shefflett’s view of inspiration as taking and building on another’s work is merely imitation. It isn’t wrong to immerse yourself in another’s work, as that’s how many artists come up with their own styles. But when lazy designers start spoon-feeding themselves from other sources is where the problem arises. What flows out should be all your own and different from what flows in. Chemin has a more appropriate view of inspiration when he says that inspiration is like “that bolt from the blue.” Except that bolt from the blue is God, as all inspiration comes from him and in the form he wants. The same view goes for creativity. Even though there is nothing new under the sun, different creative solutions are thought up for design problems all the time. Although it can be hard to tell true creativity from the imitations, it is still alive. Creativity takes time, work, and dedication to what is being done. It’s well worth the effort to be creative and find the inspiration to come up with unique ideas, as it’s much more satisfying than imitating another. But it’s also important to remember that God is still guiding that pencil along the paper (or the mouse along the screen) and we should continually thank him for doing so.

  4. I think now we live in a world full of technology. We tend to forget how creative we are. I agree with someone’s blog. About how today, we are so focused on the different design applications than our own creativity. We tend to sometimes find the easy way out by letting the computer do it for us rather than paper and pencil.
    I think inspiration is a gift from God. And that leads to creativity. Whatever inspires us, we can think of something to put that creativity to good use.

  5. I agree with the article in some ways and in other ways I disagree. I agree that we are lazy and that we don’t want to do things the hard way. We find easy fixes by copying other people’s work instead of finding our own solutions. I disagree in that I believe inspiration is important. I believe that we are creative people but we can never create something truly free from inspiration. I believe that everything we create is inspired from something, and sometimes it’s someone else’s art. Still we should always try to use our creativity to make it our own.

  6. I don’t think creativity is dead. Like the person said in the comment before mine, we are lazy. True creativity has been put in the bottom drawer. With the internet now, there are many places that people can go to to see other peoples work to be “inspired” as an easy way out. Don’t get me wrong, these site are a good thing to go to, but not if the work is going to be copied. We just need to put away the computer and sit at our desk with a pencil and paper and let the true creativity flow.

  7. First of all, art is all about personal ideas and expression. Artists use art as a means of communicating/expressing their feelings about certain things which inspire them, in a visual manner. I would not say that artists are imitating everything or taking something old and putting a new face on it. They are just responding to the world around them.
    As an artist myself I get inspired by the beauty of the world and all of God’s creation, but I am also inspired by my experiences, so I would not say that inspiraion is a bad deal. Inspiration is a key part of my art life.
    I also do not believe that creativity is dead. The postmodern world that we live in just does not have as much room for the time-consuming hand-made art-making process part of creativity. Creativity is still around, and visual artists are not the only ones who are artistically creative. There are also all the othe types of designers (arhitectural, interior, landscaping, graphic, fashion, industrial, etc.). Creativity could never die. It is used everyday by people who try to make the world a better place. All the technology and material things we have today came from the mind of a creative person, whether they drew it up in a sketchbook or on a computer program.

  8. While i was reading Owen Shifflett’s post i completely agreed with him. I felt like true creativity was dead and all i see today is practically knock offs of someone else’s work. But after reading David duChemin’s post, i realized that i agreed with him more. I dont think that creativity is completely dead. I think when we use the inspiration from things out side of ourself, like nature, emotions, etc then we can come up with something creative. But its so easy to take someone else’s work and “inspire” ourselves to create something that we call our own. I know im guilty of doing, but thats not true creativity. Its just the lazy way out. We need to constantly challenge ourselves, because thats the only way that we will create something truely original.

  9. I don’t think creativity Is dead. Still we can afford to make something new. However these days, people are too lazy to do that and they just easily copy someone’s work. And inspiration is not bad deal. Someone says getting idea from other person’s work is kind of plaigiarism. But I think it is not too much it can be accepted. Sometimes we create totally different things inspired by someone’s work. If keep in mind all the time try not to depend on the other one’s work, it can be good inspiration and creation.

  10. Creativity is not dead. God created us to be like him, in his image. He is the ultimate creator, the first, and we have been given creative minds. We have the desire to create and also, to inspire others to create. We cannot create outside of what God, the Creator, has also created. I agree that hard work, brings us to find new inspiring things. It allows us to be inspired by more. When we are working to discover more tools and more about every aspect of creation, then we will discover new sources of inspiration. Inspiration is not a bad deal. It is good, and motivates us to search out more truths and ideas.
    Sarah McCallister

  11. “The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.”- Oscar Wilde. We have to imitate to be able to learn in the beginning. How does a toddler learn to speak? By imitating the sounds he/she hears from the people around. As artist we do the same. We first learn how to “create” by seeing what others have created. We learn the rules of design and then after that we can draw our inspiration from our surroundings and life experiences, our “sprit”, etc. But, I do think there is a point where we need to step out of “imitating” and start coming up with our own new ideas and create art without getting it from someone else.

    A lot of people nowadays tend to just reproduce what they see in the media instead of “trying and failing” like Shifflet addressed in his blog. I agree with him on the fact that we tend to take the easy path instead of exploring our real potential and creating something new.

  12. Creativity is not dead, but our culture is killing it and it is not far from dead. I think we are all born very creative and then our schooling system scares us out of being creative. We are too afraid to make a mistake. We are taught it is wrong to make a mistake and we follow boundaries that have been set up by others before us. If we step outside those boundaries it’s considered a mistake. We need to learn to color outside the lines. Being creative doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to ignore the lines, we just shouldn’t let them hold us back. We shouldn’t be afraid to cross them.

  13. I strongly agree with this article and I wish more artists would know of how important it is to have a healthy filter for the plethora of inspiration floating around us on the internet, in galleries, books, etc… One of the more intriguing comments written in the article was how we as both consumers and producers in the art world need to have an adaptive approach rather than an adoptive approach when handling inspiration. It’s so important to take in a healthy dose of it, but to not get saturated. Kind of similar to the phrase, ‘too much of a good thing is a bad thing’. As a visual artist, I find it beneficial for my creative process to delve into others’ work and learn about the possible methods, mediums and the like that are out there. I could spend hours looking at good photography, but unless I put some sort of personal filter on the exhibition, it could turn into something more of background music that just entertains for a short while, but nothing sticks. Or on the flip side, it could totally annhilate my creative process and not leave a lick of room for anything of my own imagination. High Five.

  14. I don’t believe that inspiration is killing nor eating creativity. I think that creators who use inspiration as a means of imitating are just not being creative. Most beginner artist are going to use other works of art as “inspiration” and then copy that style which is totally fine. But eventually you have to explore other styles and methods and combine them into your own unique style! When someone can can combine different elements and different effects into a magnificent style of art! That is true creativity.

    P.S. First blog comment ever…Kinda sketchy!

  15. To discuss this problem, we should first understand what is creativity. On human term, creativity literally means to make something new, something different and perhaps better than its previous generations. However, creativity does not necessarily mean to create something entirely different and that is not based on any of its previous versions. To be creative, one must build something new on something old or turned it into something serving a new function.

    To take the ancient egyptian pyramid for example, it was an creative project at that time, but it was not created out of nothing, it has its history of tradition through which the the concept of building a pyramid was improving gradually over time, say from building of the simple tomb, the mostaba, later to the stepped pyramid, which were multiple mostabas stacked on top of each other, and then it continues to developed and finally the pyramid of Giza was born.

    Creativity is an abstract concept of continuous development of all things. In the modern era, the world has been spinning crazily fast in the last few decades and the world has developed into thousand time more culturally diverse community than it was ever before, and this trend will continue forever in an exponential fashion. With this as a background, it would imply that people now a day face so many new things in their life and they would easily get confused and lost. This phenomenon inevitably would drive people to stay in their comfort zoom and become less desirous to go to the forefront and explore something new. For to do so, it requires resources, courage and passion and anticipation of facing risk. Therefore, in convenience, they might tend to borrow and copy things that are ready around them instead of adding their intellectual layer on their works, thus creativity is considered lost in the context.

    Nevertheless, it is not wrong to copy and borrow from one another. For in the global community, everything is shared in a organic fashion and it promotes mutual development that helps building a better world. In fact, all designers would do the same thing of borrowing and copying from each other. Then we would ask, why some did so successfully and many others failed?

    The answer is simple, because those who are successful are able to build new elements on top of what they had, in this case, the act of stealing is not counted. Whereas, the many failed because they purely copy and did not produce anything new to adapt the changing environment thus their works considered cliche and mundane.

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