I've been thinking a lot lately (that business ethics class taught by a philosophy professor has sharpened my mind up in recent weeks) and wanted to start a dialogue with you all about why and how art and creativity seem to product more art and creativity.
So here are three thoughts I've had on why art begets art:
1. One of my favorite things to do lately is to get on Google and search for "art" or "painting" or "sculpture" on Google images. When you do this (and I recommend that you do), a good portion of the time, most of the work is interesting, if not impressive. Sometimes, it's impressive. And sometimes, it's just downright inspiring. And since I'm not THE Creator - think creating ex nihilo - seeing these just makes me want to create. See the earlier post on my Wave painting, it pretty well sums up this little phenomena of mine.
2. So some of you may have noticed the little hints I've been dropping, with various pictures of wood, wood glue, sanders, stains, and the like. While I can't give you the full scoop yet, I can say that all the painting and taking pictures I've been working on lately has opened me up artistically to the point that I want to create in other mediums, namely wood sculpture. It's been very fun and challenging to try out something new, realize what it takes to create certain things, and then keep going. Anyway, where I'm going with this is that I'm finding that the more I use my 'art' muscles (i.e. a certain part of my brain), the more art flows out. More and more I find myself laying in bed late at night thinking of idea after idea of different things I want to do in whatever medium. And once it gets going, I've found it very difficult to stop (did I mention I've been VERY tired lately?).
It's kind of like water flowing out of a dam. The more I open the floodgates, the more water that comes out and the harder it is to close it back up. Another way to look at this might be exercising and/or lifting weights. I can't just go out and grab a 250 pound barbell and hang clean it (CrossFit people are nodding). But, as I begin to activate certain muscles and tissues in my body, and strengthen those, I find I'm able to do more and more than I ever thought I could, and not only that, but I want to do more.
3. All of this makes me wonder if we don't all have certain latent abilities for doing almost whatever we want in life. To be certain, some people have bigger buckets or capacity for certain things. Most people will never be as naturally gifted at basketball as Tim Duncan, for instance, but that doesn't mean we can't learn how to play, and even play well, to a certain degree. Another qualifier is obviously situational. I'm not going to be creating great works of art if I'm struggling just to feed myself on a given day (ahem, starving artists anyone?). However, I think that we've all been given basic abilities to do many, many different things. And all it takes is the right nudge at the right time, and that little snowball of ability is careening down the hill as a landscape altering avalanche of change. This doesn't always turn out for good (see Hitler, Adolf), but it just goes to show what potential lies within us; what can happen when we really pursue something.
What do you think? (Let me know in the comments below!)