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Creative Elements

Creative Elements

Recently, there was a thread of emails that came through the American Psychology Association, DIV 10 list-serve that I found interesting and worth sharing.

A member had a question related to the common definition of creativity: In order to be a creative (thing, idea, act) it must be:

1. Original (or novel)

2. Useful (or have achievement or value or effectiveness)

This lead into a larger discussion about current research in the field and future areas of study. I could go on forever but I'll share the highlights here with links to further info.

There are two levels of creativity. Big C and Little C. Big C creative acts are genius moments. Innovative ideas that have a huge impact. Little C creative acts are the small daily Aha's we have. Little C moments solve daily problems by connecting new information to our experiences and knowledge.

I found this quote by Steve Jobs on the subject: Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people

Another report established 4 criteria for a creative (idea, object, act):

1. Unusualness: Of course, this refers to it being unique and different from the typical choice.

2. Appropriateness: This relates to the context of the piece and if it fulfills the goals of the maker.

3. Transformational Power: This criteria is similar to number 1, however number 1 requires a comparison to something that exists while this criteria is regarding elements that are brand new and have never been seen before.

4. Condensation: This final criteria is more subjective and relates to a balance in the creative between simplicity and complexity. The IT factor. The element that keeps the viewer coming back to the piece regardless of context.

The discussion has been really interesting to follow because the arts provide so many opportunities for exceptions to these criteria. I think these last 4 cover the bases for me but I'm going to put them to the test the next time I'm at an art fair or museum and a piece grabs me.

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