I remember the banter among my colleagues from back in the day, at design school. We'd tease each other calling "artist" those who did a nice job or came out with a nice design for a project. No one liked it.
Being creative is highly associated with being artistic. It shouldn't be. Although art can hardly live outside creativity, one can certainly be creative without creating art. The problem is many people believe they can't be creative because they are not artistic.
It’s about time we separate art from creativity.
Creativity manifests itself in many forms outside the world of art. A new product, a new app, a new system, a process, or even a new way of organizing your closet. These are all examples of creative endeavors, and they are not art. "Creativity os not a talent. It's a way of operating.", as put Joh Cleese eloquently in this famous talk.
Creativity comes in handy when the possible solutions for a given problem are endless.
What should I make for dinner? What should this headline say? How can I sell 2000 more units the next quarter? Or more importantly, how can I get my girlfriend to take me back?
We can use Creativity as a tool to help us find and pick the most suitable solution. A very creative person may come up with a very unexpected yet highly suitable solution. Because simply saying “I’m sorry” for kissing her twin sister may not cut it.
The product of creativity is not art. It's newness. It's originality. It's innovation.
You can find a my definition of creativity in this article.
Art is a different story.
Art, to me, is an attempt from the artist to touch people deep in their soul, and communicate beyond the expected parameters. It comes in many shapes and sizes. In words, in images, forms or movement. Yet, how good the art is will be directly related to the artist’s creativity, since creativity is the force that will take the artist’s work away from the ordinary. Good art is extraordinary.
The artist uses creativity to make better art. She needs it to bring newness, originality and innovation to her art.
Now that we've separated art and creativity, let's bring them back together in light of what we just talked about. It is true that highly creative people are attracted to art. Those who enjoy being creative crave for freedom. Art offers the most creative freedom – there's no right or wrong, there's no rules that can't be broken. The creative constraints in art are given only by the medium, your skills and by yourself – being the last one the key. The artist explores her inner limitations and biases and beliefs as she tries to express her message.
I'm not an artist. I'm creative.
In my day-to-day work creating for advertising I use elements of art, I am artistic from time to time, but that doesn't make me an artist. I have met many artists, and they are very special people. They have a special energy about them that is rare and precious. They have a gift I don't have. Being called an artist is not an insult, of course, but it is not accurate. We share a tool. I use creativity for advertising. They use it to create art.
Too many people write themselves off from being creative because they are not artistic. And that shouldn’t happen. Everyone has creativity in them – it can be exercised and expanded. And just like the artist uses creativity to improve his work, anyone can use creativity to improve theirs.
The first step is simply to be intentional about it.
Who cares if you can't draw Mickey Mouse? You can still innovate, create new ways of doing things, come up with ideas to improve every aspect of your business, your life and even change the world – if that's your cup of tea.