I’m not sure I believe in creativity. It might sound strange saying that as a self proclaimed “aspiring creative type,” but when I hear the term “creativity” I imagine creating brand new art out of thin air, but I'm not sure if that's possible. I suggested last week that an artist must develop a well curated toolkit of essential basic elements, but creativity takes a little more than that. A creative person has to have good taste in art as well and the ability to borrow their favorite elements of their favorite art.
I point to a bus advertisement I saw once to illustrate the need for good taste when utilizing synthesis. I don’t remember what the advertisement was for but it was a takeoff of the “evolution of man” image. It bothered me that such a cliche made it to the final draft of such a widely distributed image, but my main takeaway from seeing that was that the designer connected the dots to that image and decided it was the best solution to their problem.
This is why I say that the key to “creativity” is good taste. Just like last week when I said that a person in the creative field needs a solid understanding of the tools of their trade in order to use the right tool to solve the problem, creativity draws on the creative person’s eye (or ear, or whatever sense they’re using creatively) for what works and what doesn’t. The more varied their familiarity is, the more dots they have at their disposal to connect!
Maybe I’m just splitting hairs here, but the thing known as creativity isn’t quite what people say it is. Creativity is never spontaneous generation of brand new ideas. A friend who I described this blog post to said “There’s nothing new since Shakespeare.” I know that in the post I’m saying that you should avoid cliches but this one hits the nail right on the head. If you’re a creative professional, try consciously noticing the things that you’re most attracted to in your field. I guarantee you’ll find new inspiration in your good taste.