I just finished listening to Tim Owens’ “We Are All Artists.” I found it very intriguing, however I disagree on a few points. He talks about creativity and how best to be creative. His specific points in his discussion are (taken from his website):
- Creativity is not inherited
- In sports we accept the idea that with practice, we can get better. Why can’t we translate that to art?
- A creative environment can foster creativity
- ds106 is giving you that environment
- Do not accept the lie that you were just not born creative
- We are more creative when we are uncomfortable
- Take something ordinary and make it extraordinary
- Take something complex and make it simple
- Take something new and make it old
- Find inspiration in the world around you
I want to go point by point and discuss my thoughts on the matter. The first point is Creativity is not inherited. This goes along with A creative environment can foster creativity. I feel like these two things are contrasting arguments. If you grow up around a musican father and an artist mother (like Tim Owens’ example) then you are probably going to be more creative than someone who does not grow up in a family like that. However, he says that creativity is not inherited. Well it is when your parents are giving you more creative outlets than not. I grew up with a father who is an auditor and a mother who is an office administrator. I didn’t have very many creative outlets so therefore I don’t consider myself to be that much of a creative person. I try to be as creative as possible, but from looking at many other peoples photos, clearly they have had more practice and are just more creative overall. So, I disagree with Tim Owens on that part.
This brings us to his next point: In sports we accept the idea that with practice, we can get better. Why can’t we translate that to art? I agree with this statement. This pretty much goes for anything in life, I think. If you want to be good at something, you have to practice at it no matter what. Practice makes perfect, or so they say.
Do not accept the lie that you are just not born creative. I don’t agree with this really. It’s not a lie necessarily. It goes back to the first point of what kind of environment you are in. If you’re born into a creative environment, you’re probably going to be more creative than not. Obviously with practice you can become more creative, but you have to have the desire too as well which usually comes from your environment.
The three things he says are necessary to be creative are: Take something ordinary and make it extraordinary, Take something complex and make it simple, and Take something new and make it old. I’m very glad that he put these in writing because it has really helped me. You can just take a picture of something and say “hey this is creative” or you could make it look entirely different but still have the same core. The differences you put into your work is what is going to make the piece better and more creative. The more you make something your own, the better it is going to turn out.
Finally, he says to Find inspiration in the world around you. This is one of the main things I try to really do before I finish something. The Daily Shoots, for example, I try to show my environment and how it has inspired me for the day’s prompt. I don’t attempt to force the prompt in any way, I just try and let it happen naturally. I think that has really made my Daily Shoots good and not just any plain old picture.
Tim Owens did a great job in that discussion and I really like (and am thankful for) the resources he gave us. They are really going to help me and other DS106ers make their way through the design portion of this class. So, thank you Tim Owens for these resources and a wonderful discussion.