I’m not lonely I’m just being creative.
Creativity. The ability to make something out of nothing. Creativity birthed Salvador Dali’s The Persistence of Memory painting, creativity birthed Wilfred Owen’s emotive poem Dulce ET Decorum Est, and creativity birthed Filip Leu’s epic body suit tattoos. No matter who a person is, where they come from or what they do, there is always an appreciation for creativity.
We all indulge ourselves in how creativity makes us feel and idolise those able to harness it. But what makes these creatives so different from us? Are they born with that extra something? If so, why didn’t Van Gogh come straight out the womb with a paint brush and canvas in his hand, instead of beginning to paint during his adult years?
The truth is creativity requires more than just a natural inclination towards to a certain way of thought. Instead, it’s a mixture of dedication, curiosity and expression. With these three pillars in tow, creativity is, in other words, an obsession. For those of us who are able to conduct novel projects on a weekly or daily basis, we are obsessed with our creativity. Whether we are walking to work, on social media or just lost in thought, we create our own worlds in which we can be creative. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest harness this human desire, as users construct their own creatively-sourced worlds without barriers, and get addicted to how it makes them feel.
Obsession and creativity go hand in hand, and the time consumed by our obsessions is what separates the hobbyists from the infatuated.
But how do you get started? Similar to the theory of innovation you have to ask yourself, What if? What if I did this my way instead of that way? Picasso asked himself exactly the same question. What if I deconstructed the human form and used non-traditional colours? What would happen? This constant curiosity is the fuel that keeps creatives going, and as humans we are innately drawn to the unknown or unexplored.
Is anybody in there?
One thing all creatives have in common is they are often viewed as lonely. They spend too much time absorbed by different projects that finding the balance between ‘work’ and life can be difficult. The art behind the lonely artist is that they don’t feel lonely. Instead, they feel contempt expressing themselves without others around to watch or critique. After all, how often do you hear about player artists who live the playboy lifestyle?
In this isolated desire to express yourself, forged beauty and self-love. Being able to spend 40 or more hours alone with just your thoughts might sound like some people’s worst nightmare. But the beauty is Creative’s aren’t alone. They have built up a love for their own thoughts and obsessions, and they no longer feel abandoned or ignored when in isolation. But building up this self-love for being alone takes time and dedication.
Being interested by what fuels our creative soul is one thing but actually doing it is another. It takes time to learn to love your own company and really dive into an obsession that matches your soul. This is why artists, performers and poets all begin to thrive in their adulthood. It’s not because of childish ignorance, it’s because they are building up their own worlds to live in and feel satisfied, which takes time.
Of course, there are times in which trauma is the catalyst that reveals a never-before-explored form of art. Why? Because the way in which our brain processes trauma is different to that of any other type of memory. In the simplest terms, the trauma memory does not fade and stays in our short term memory. Meaning those experiencing trauma relive the moment over and over again, like it happened yesterday. This reoccurring trauma aids the creative flow, as the memory stays fresh and allows for new types of thought or expression to be introduced.
Painter Otto Dix has often been labelled as one of the most important artists of the Neue Sachlichkeit because of his brutally honest and terrifying pieces that conceptualised WW1. But what’s even more interesting is how his art changed. He went from this bright and very true to life painting style.
To this abstract, dark and mind-numbing style. His obsession expresses the brutal realities of war fuelled his creativity, as the traumatic memories stayed fresh in his mind. This memory was unique to Dix and alone he relived it through his paintings.
The end of creativity
Creatives need isolation. Away from the everyday events of the world to express their obsession, and through this segregation they have the time and confidence to create. This is what separates them from us. The ability to separate and obsess without feelings of loneliness or failure.
Learning to be creative and find your niche takes time, but the personal growth and satisfaction that follows as a bi-product breathes life into the soul. So, if you’re a non-creative looking to be a creative, take your time, think about what emotively fuels you and use it. The journey is more fun than the destination.