Our culture is shifting. We are beginning to honor and recognize that the arts are important and valuable. And while this is awesome and amazing, we still have a lot of work today. One way we can all empower ourselves is through learning. Reading. And sharing.
We are more creative than we think
One important objection people have to engaging with the arts is that it is only the venue of creatives. This thinking is wrong. We are all creative. In fact, we are more creative than we think. It can be how you prepare a meal or the way you navigate a soccer ball to the goal net, all of these behaviors and actions can include creativity.
“We are more creative than we think. In fact, creativity is a choice.” (Click To Tweet)
Creativity is a choice. For too long we have elevated creativity to a special status. Only “special” people had access to this experience. This attitude and mindset is elitist; it alienates people from engaging in and trying on their creative interests. So it’s about time to acknowledge the ways we are creative in our everyday. Maybe then it will be less intimidating to pick up that paint brush when we do have the desire.
Doodling is a language
New research is investigating if we have an innate need to doodle.
Neil Cohn studies graphic novels from a scientific angle and finds certain symbols consistently communicate specific messages. This same kind of study applies to doodling. Doodling may even be a precursor to today’s written language; early written language developed from pictograms or symbols.
Doodling, and art, are means of communication and our very beginnings are tied to the act of creation. Consider indigenous tribes of Australia today who still draw or doodle to complement their conversations. This visual act enhances and supports their oral communication.
“Evidence of our very beginnings are tied to the act of creation.” (Click to Tweet)
So, the next time you catch yourself doodling in the margins of your work realize it may be another means of furthering communication.
Coloring Books for Adults
More people are recognizing how the arts can be a means of psychological comfort and release. This article discusses how some therapists recommend coloring books for adults to relieve stress. The act of coloring encourages our mind to wander and release itself from daily stressors so coloring actually is a means of practicing mindfulness, a kind of meditation practice.
The first psychologist to use coloring for a relaxation technique was Carl G. Jung who created mandalas. Next week I’ll show you how to create your own mandalas so be sure to join us to learn about a new (actually very old) means of creative play.
In addition to its satisfying, meditative process coloring helps us reconnect with our childhood and a sense of play. More and more research today is showing how play in the lives of adults leads to happier, healthier, less stressed human beings!
I already created a coloring book for adults; I drew illustrations inspired by my travel in the Middle East. You can access it as part of the Artist Strong Toolkit for free when you subscribe to our weekly, exclusive content.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Do you feel a cultural shift about the arts? Where do we still need to work to promote and support creative practice? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.
Listen to today’s post:
This strikes so very close to my own thoughts right now. I came across the coloring article last week and my brain just LIT UP with ideas. I guess this explains why I loved coloring so much as a kid, and why art journaling is an integral part of my daily life. I’m also considering getting back into regular sketching this November with AEDM. But in short: YES. coloring, doodling, creating. YES it feels like breathing to me!
Mandy thank you so much for reading! I’m so glad to hear you are full of inspiration. I want everyone to feel license to the excitement that comes from ideas such as yours! Hopefully research like this will help more people justify their desire to create. 🙂 Art is breath – I love it.
You nailed it: “Justify their desire to create.” The problem is that our culture doesn’t recognize creative play as a productive use of time… I think. 😉 It doesn’t have a perceived benefit. I’m assuming you and I would both climb on our soapboxes and rally all day long against that misinformation, but … well … would they listen?
Haha! That’s why I created Artist Think, I’m hoping it can be a soapbox all the time for people curious and interested in the arts. I think it does a better job than me shouting aimlessly in a city square! Our society seems to cultivate a need to be busy (somehow that is the only way to be responsible?) and that fun is for kids. Time to take it back! And I’m really glad to know there are people like you Mandy to help spread that message.
Being creative is not elitist unless people are locked out of the process. We need creative thinkers & creative approaches to many issues & challenges that human’s face. Teaching the arts taps into our creative brains. Once you decide the theme, colours, content you have decision making which = efficacy. The joy in self/expression is basic to human life, it gives meaning to our place in the world & shapes our views. The issue for me is that the aim in training children & people through art, music & movement is not to make artists but creative thinkers & problem solvers yet now it is said that’everyone is an artist’. We do have elite sportspeople this perception is that those people are at the top of their game. To be an artist requires many elements for survival, even the title of artist is cautiously used by those who make art. Years of dedication, descipline & skill. We have a lot or mediocre art in the world. It should be a respected place calling oneself an artist. I proffer it is the sharing & creating of artistic processes through stories & music or StreetArt, sculpture or weaving and if done in the context of community engagement it creates meaning & gives a voice to people & place. With most art relegated to galleries, schools, museums, centres we expect those keen to continue to create to take classes & support the artist teacher & continue to lock others from the process, thereby those taking up artistic hobbies, feel the joy & confidence as they did as children but because these are the only ‘outlet for self-expression’ they go on to expect to make money from making art. If more people came together to ‘play @ art’ we would have happier more liveable communities. Less ‘cultural product’ and consumption & get to a more place based creative cultural ecology, where festivals and community events are rich in visual stimulus & excitement, wonderful music, foods & creative sharing & living. That’s my creative dream.
Thanks Andrea for sharing your thoughts, I appreciate it. To be honest, I don’t care if people think they will or will not make money from their art (or even if their work is “mediocre”), I just want people making art because of it’s many benefits to person and society. Too many people refuse to engage with the arts because they have no skill (thus they feel intimidated) and yet the only way any of us get more skillful is through practice and actually creating.
There are resources out there to help people who have the desire to sell their work; the market and their business acuity will determine their success, with or without skill. Many contemporary artists create work that have nothing to do with skill and everything to do with concept. I miss skill based fine art in terms of my own art appreciation, but I see that as entirely separate from my desire to help everyone engage in creative acts. Again, thank you so much for contributing your ideas and best wishes to you! Welcome to Artist Think. 🙂
Hi Carrie! You write this: We are all creative. In fact, we are more creative than we think.
One of the things I love about creativity is that it has no limit. With athletic undertakings (not to hate on a soccer player) we hit against the limits of the human body and struggle to beat Father Time (we never do). With traditional forms of creativity–arts, sciences, what have you–there is always a place we can pursue that is beyond where we are. It’s pretty exciting.
AMEN: Creativity has NO limits. That is what is so amazing about creativity, we place limits on it, not the other way around.
It is exciting, thanks so much for sharing!