As humans, we exhibit the need to express our experiences. We have come to label this necessary expression as “Art”, but what exactly prompts individuals to create works of art? Russell Shelley, professor of music, explores the source of creativity.
Q: Does everyone possess the capacity to be creative in some way?
A: Yes, creativity is inherent. You can’t find anyone who doesn’t have it. Creativity fills a human need which can be fulfilled in countless ways, not limited to the “formal arts” like painting and music and so on. People can find beauty in photography as well as football.
Q: Are there particular environments or mindsets that foster creativity?
A: The more acute one’s creative abilities are, the more fulfilling the expression and the experience. The limitation of creativity leaves the human experience incomplete. The complexity of the experience requires the intangibles creativity affords.”
Q: Is there such a thing as an “Ah-Ha!” moment?
A: Sure. An “Ah-Ha!” moment is when your experience and the manipulations of the art agree, though it doesn’t happen often.
Q: Is there such a thing as originality or do ideas build upon each other?
A: To the extent that the creator assembles unique manipulations, originality exists.
Q: Is there an on/off switch for creativity?
A: No, people are finding ways to be creative all the time. As humans, we are not meant to be exclusively utilitarian. We do not always desire function over form. Perhaps prolonged stretches of utility can deaden the need to create, thereby defining the times of pure utility as the times we are least human. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a prime example of this. On the bottom exists food, water, and shelter and on top, self-actualization and creativity fulfillment.
Q: Is it possible to have art without creativity or creativity without art?
A: No. It is the creator’s decision to be creative in a particular way. Art is the purposeful manipulation of the elements available in that genre. It exists because language is inadequate to express the human experience and creativity is the result of the desire to share or express this experience.
-Hannah Jeffery ’16, Juniata Online Journalist