So yesterday I read some tweets from Chestnut about her dislike for the use of the word “Creatives” to categorize people, as if only some people are creative and others are not.
What she said really hit home with me and triggered a lot of thought about my own creative expression and misconceptions about what it means to be an artist and live a creative life.
I will try to organize my thoughts on this so that it makes sense…
I have seen the word thrown around here and there and it has never really felt comfortable to me. Maybe it’s just semantics, but I think that in categorizing some people as Creatives, it implies that only certain people are creative and that creativity is some kind of precious commodity that only few people have access to. Now perhaps it is my own misconceptions and insecurities that cause me to feel irked when I hear that word, but I do believe that living a creative life and producing “art” IS NOT some kind of elitist country club that only a chosen few have the privilege of being a part of.
I happen to believe that we are all Creative by nature. Every one of us has the ability to express and create whether it be through writing, painting, photography, music, linking prims in virtual worlds, or whatever medium we choose and feel comfortable with. Some of us are better than others. Who am I to say that I am a “Creative” and some other person is not? Perhaps the only difference between the so called “Creatives” and “non-Creatives” is that the latter may have not yet discovered their own desire to create and the means and skill to express it.
And while we’re on the topic, I also really dislike the Tortured Artist stereotype. It just feeds into the misconception I already stated above – that only certain people are creative, and that suffering is a prerequisite to create good art. I think this is bullshit and I refuse to buy into and perpetuate such a misnomer. I’m not saying that hardships in life don’t inspire works of art. It certainly does. I’m just saying that you do not have to live a dysfunctional life strewn with heartache in order to create and be considered an Artist or, there’s that word again, a Creative. There are writers, painters, photographers, musicians and all kinds of artistic people who live quiet, “normal”, and overall happy lives and DO NOT suffer for their art.
Personally, I had not attempted any kind of creative expression in several years until I found Second Life. I didn’t even really know I had the desire to do anything creative until I started exploring the grid and saw all the amazing works of art that people were making. It made me want to do something too and Second Life actually made me feel that I could conjure up something beautiful and worthy of sharing with others. I try, and whether my output is good or not, doesn’t really matter. I get feedback once in awhile for my photos that I share here, and from time to time I make attempts at creating something “arty” in Second Life (see photo above). I truly appreciate the positive feedback (thank you!), but that’s not why I do it. I choose to create because it is an internal process and it makes me feel good. Whether I am working through (or trying to forget) some emotions that I do not understand, trying to capture a feeling, essence or concept and convey it in a photo or in words, it is my personal creative process that matters most.
The finished product, fabulous as it may be, is really secondary to the Creative Process. To me, that is what art and creative expression is all about, the process, the journey that leads the artist to their completed work. Every one of us, even me and you, has it in us to make our own path, create something beautiful and meaningful and call it Art.