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The lives of creative minds The lives of creative minds
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-14 09:40:30
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The myth goes that creative minds fully master their art. Truth is creative minds tend to be comfortable with one aspect of their art while being handicapped or burdened by another aspect of their art.

Let's look at a couple of examples.

Serge Gainsbourg had a 40+ year career composing hit music album after the other. His extravagant personality, binge drinking and heavy smoking was part of his trademark.

Many people define Gainsbourg as a musician. Truth is, Gainsbourg is more of a lyricist or a poet. In terms of musical arrangements, Gainsbourg was famously lazy, and often borrowed copyright-free classical music tunes to compose his music.

creat0001_400But, his lyrics were pure genius. His poetry is provocative, lyrical, touching, and his mastery of vocal sound, subtle rhymes, mixture of slang with high language was brilliant. And Gainsbourg invented I would say thousands of different ways to say “I love you” in equivalent fashion but using all kinds of expressions, euphemisms and coinages.

But Gainsbourg was a singer, perhaps because few people read poetry, and in France poetry is that art that only a handful of educated people over 50 read and kids in school are forced to memorize.

Let's look at Picasso and Dali. Both were brilliant drawers, but to me, they were not great painters in the sense that they did not master the art of coloring and detail that goes into landscapes and portraits. They were drawers, sketchers, the very, very best at that. But not painters.

But because in this cruel world, if it's a drawing, no one's going to buy that. No one's going to put a drawing in their living room. So Dali, Picasso and a lot of 20th century painters were actually drawers who turned their drawings into paintings.

Timing is important. In the 19th century, if you had put your drawing on a painting, people would have ridiculed you. But technique, finesse, attention to detail, abstract drawing with drawings having different meanings when you turn them upside down or look at them from right to left or left to right, no one had that level of expertise in the 19th century.

So rule number one of creativity is there is always going to be one area of your art or science that you don't quite master, perhaps several areas in your art or science.

Now what's the secret to creativity? It's the number of hours you put in.

When you keep falling asleep at 6 AM or 7 AM and force yourself to go to bed because you're not done learning and being creative, now THAT's creativity.

A lot of people think creativity involves a little bit of reflection over a couple of Martinis.

Truth is, the creative brain doesn't give a damn about becoming famous (which is why a lot of famous creatives behave very casually on TV sets).

The creative brain starts working first thing in the morning, and is not done working late, late, late into the night.

But the creative brain needs to get its ideas from somewhere.

The genius photographer will spend 12 hours a day studying famous photo album after famous photo album. The genius photographer will also occasionally peak into amateur photography to gain inspiration.

The genius musician is going to have a pile of albums and listen to those albums, while trying to gain inspiration, but more importantly, learn new techniques from the album.

The genius fashion designer is going to spend 12 hours a day window shopping. Not just random window shopping, but observing fashion and comparing notes with street fashion, observing the techniques, design, and circumstances in which such or such clothing is worn.

And those geniuses will be so absorbed in their art that they won't go to sleep until they are exhausted, and will be eager to wake up and get more creative work done.

But genius and creativity can be self-destructive. Excessive creativity can lead to insomnia or testing drugs and substances (because of rumors that such drugs increase creativity).

Personally, I had to moderate a lot of my excesses to stay healthy and keep a healthy mind to keep the creativity running. I had to basically forfeit alcohol, limit my caffeine intake, and eat proper food to keep going. Sleeping as much as I can is also part of the routine.

And, yes, indeed, you have to be “rogue” to be allowed to be creative. If you listen to your teachers and do your homework, you won't have time to work on your art. This is why the myth (and reality) is that most creative types were really bad students.

The creative type will usually be absent from class, or absent-minded in class, thinking about his art or science.

When such absent-mindedness is punished (like in China, Japan and Korea) kids tend to give up their passion.

And of course there are those kids who make no effort at learning their art but want the privilege that goes with being a famous artist (fame, picture in magazines, money, interviews etc.). Real creative types really tend not to have time to read the articles written about them, and they are busy working on their next work of art.

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