Saturday, April 12, 2008

Creativity, Step by Step

This is the name of an article in the latest (April 2008) issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR). The article discusses Twyla Tharp, and her theories on creativity. Twyla Tharp is a very famous choreographer, who is said to have changed the face of modern dance. What I found especially interesting were her thoughts on "creative people" vs. "noncreative people" and originality.

She believes that creativity is something everyone can have, not only the "creative types". For her, creativity is a habit (she wrote a book called The Creative Habit), and that creativity must be prepared for, "...with routine". What that means, is that developing a routine of being creative is not contrived, but necessary. Practicing art or creativity, is the way to be more creative.

Furthermore, she advises people who want to be creative, to "get busy copying." There has been a lot of talk out there about everyone copying someone else's work. Some believe that there are just too many party hats and wings on vintage children images. HBR asks, "Should we be worrying about lack of originality?" Twyla replies simply: "Of course not." Firstly, she recommends immediately getting over being intimidated by those you admire - so intimidated that you can not produce anything yourself. Of course your first try at something will not match up to an expert's work - so just start doing something so you can eventually become an expert too.

Secondly, Twyla doesn't worry about originality. "Personaly, I don't worry about originality at all. Has anyone ever done what I've done before? Yeah, probably." For her, "copying is taking somebody else's solutions. Learning is taking somebody else's problems. " Think about that for a minute -it's a good one.

She goes on to describe Braque and Picasso, who at a certain point, were making very similar artwork to each other, but they were two totally different artists, with different backgrounds, values, philosophies, etc. Just because they made similar artwork, does not make them unoriginal. Sorry about not having links to these two artists - I just can't deal with it right now.

I can't deal with it right now, because I'm leaving for Art and Soul tomorrow! Whoo hoo! I'm still not finished packing. I don't know what to wear. I guess I'll just have to find a mix between my crappy mommy clothes and the suits I bought for the Vegas show. Now, go practice being creative and don't worry about copying anyone else.

1 comment:

peggy gatto said...

Very enlightening ! I know I've built on other peoples ideas and I've also thought that I have an "original" idea only to find out....others had the same idea!!!