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by David Sparenberg
2022-06-11 08:32:07
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A creative act is a two-part (and two directional) process.  The work enters the world, emergent from a concentrated effort (out of what Yeats called “passionate intensity”).  It occupies a space, encapsulates a time – the time of expression, durance, and recurrence: your painting, your poem, your body language of choreography, your voice, expressing attentive presence through vibration-movements of the song you sing.  That part of the process is overt.  It becomes fixed, a fixture in human culture, and as such can be approached by others.

The other part, arising from the interior, delves further into the interior, and begins there to open, change, and reshape the creative individual’s identity.  The more frequently creativity happens, the more extensively a personality characteristic is developed, and the person-as-artist is transformed.  From this we may speak of creativity within the artist interior journey as transformative art.  Patterns of recognition, resource and reliance are established and eventually, along with whatever else is existential, the artist becomes a gestalt of the art created.  Rembrandt was Rembrandt’s portraits, Leonard Cohen his songs, Georgia O’Keefe her magnified and intimate flowers.  It is out of the gestalt of authenticity of identity (the unified creative articulation and perspective), coalescing with transpersonal connectivity, that the artist is given cultural recognition and placement. 

tra00001_400There is a secret to this development, which can and legitimately should extend throughout a lifetime, and the secret is in the way of discovery and recovery of what Sufis call the Hidden Treasure.  The restlessness in the creative soul will experiment and in experimenting in the depth laboratory of the psyche alchemy of discovering and often recovering the individualized mode of creative expression, the dynamic shapesidentity into affirmative self-realization. While the creative one may say only, “I will make this.” What is created responses with “And I will make you and you will become in part the who of what I am.”

Therein the emergence and revelation of the Hidden Treasurer, in the slow cooker of experiential time, strives and becomes the signature of a unique presence in the world of mutuality, actualizing through the witnessing and wisdom of maturity to help providing guideposts (even altars of passage) to release and rehabilitate the deep growth and outward venturing (the developmental adventures) of others. 

A creative act is a two-part process, and this is a circle within a circle and a circle of concentric outreach.  The artistic person is person as presence committing to authenticate the human image through immersion-observation, response, reflection, and longing.  While the lives of most people are obscure mirrors and often of resignation to limitations passed on as binding, the artist of transformative art (the artist in becoming what and the initiating who of episodes of creative labor) strives to make possible a genuine and very often intimate, and thereby spiritual reflectionof the conditions and possibilities of life.

A concluding point to be made here.  Increasingly the world is not stable, and the world is not safe.  The challenges of Earth crisis and potentials for a life extinguishing nuclear war are realities confronting us each and all.  Everybody to the best of their ability has a responsibility to contribute to addressing these threats.  There are degrees of criminal negligence in the degrees of non-response.  While this pertains to all who exist here on this troubled, traumatized, and endangered planet, there is a morally higher and extended responsibility for those who are dedicated to the arts.  Regardless of medium, the artist seeks to attain or has attained a platform to address others.  That is a power and that power (not merely privilege) bears something of the weight of lived time and a greater obligation to address what is vital – what is reality and what within reality is necessity.

Italian born drama teacher, Eugenio Barba, who made his mark as director of the Odin Theatre in Denmark (Barba a student of Jerzy Grotowski) wrote and taught that the artist in creating is always moving away from a wound.  To be wounded is to be vulnerable.  To be vulnerable is to expose what is most human.  The creative act is the human soul’s survival against the pain of nihilism.  Against extinguishing hurt and annihilation arises affirmation, whether as a single thread or gathered skein, be it via color, dimension, word, melody, or measured movement – movement as an “also” language addressing the senses with erotic aesthetic, a pathos of incompleteness, or creature-spirituality, of human as benignly human. Not as an evolutionary apparition, a so-called breed apart, rather integrally, the engaged artist addresses the world as a narrative participant in the intricate (and paradoxical) web of storied belonging.

In every creative act there is intimacy and intimate art (transformative art) is vibratory and gestating.


David Sparenberg is author of CONFRONTING the CRISIS: Essays & Meditations On Eco Spirituality in the Earth Spirit Series.  An international essayist and eco-poet, David lives in Seattle, WA in the Pacific Northwest, USA.


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