29 Ken Gainor

29 Jul

The Mythos of “Crea-Art-Spiration”

Creativity, Art, and Inspiration: Three words every person with the functional equivalent of an eighth-grade education knows, and three words that not a damned one of us can truly define… or at least, define for someone else.

Really, think about it: How do YOU define these words? How would you explain what they mean to you to me, or to your mother/brother/coworker? Does even the do-all end-all god of definitions Webster have them exactly right? What is the absolute bare essence meaning of even one of these words, let alone all three?

I sure as hell don’t know. I just know what I believe them to mean. How they move me, drive me, and push me to do what has so far been a terrifying tight rope walk of bliss and trembling. And that is what I share here now.

(Warning: The opinions expressed here are the unique ramblings of the author, and may/may not have anything to do with common sense, basic reality, or anything resembling a coherent point. Reader discretion is strongly encouraged, and should have been a foresight before you started reading… Unless you like the blathering of an inebriation enthusiast, in which case, come on in, crack a cold one, and enjoy.)

Let’s tackle each term individually; in the order our gracious hostess has listed them:

Creativity. The magical art of doing something that’s been done at least a hundred times before, but in a way that looks “unique” to whoever views it. Because, let’s be honest, by this time in human existence, there truly is little, if anything, that hasn’t been done already. You disagree? Ok, how many times have you heard someone talk about the newest movie/T.V. show/New York Times best-seller and say: “It was rather good/bad. It reminded me a lot/a little of So-and-so’s ‘Title’?” How many times has someone else’s work lit that spark inside you to craft your own project?

Creativity is so difficult to truly achieve in this day and age, when so much has already been made, and is so readily accessible to the masses via the internet. Movies, pictures, quotes and stories, all awaiting a few keystrokes. Is there really a story left to tell that has not yet been told?

And yet, creativity is inherent in each and every individual work that comes into existence. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen a specific play, more than once, with different cast members? Feel free to insert “movie” for “play” if there was a remake of said movie, if you need to. Were the characters the same? Did they resonate the same way? What about a cover of a song? Did the new band play/perform the song exactly the same way? Or did each individual rendition of the work in question have its own take, its own unique spin?

That is the true essence of “creativity”… That innate ability we each have to do things “just a bit different than anyone else.” And this is what makes each endeavor meaningful, regardless of the viewer’s opinion of the work’s quality. The artist’s mere involvement in the work leaves their own mark upon it, and that alone is creativity, no matter how great or terrible the final product.

Next, we find Art. A term that has had endless debates, discussions, and especially conventions centered around it. Each and every single person that has ever walked the earth has had a definition for this word, and it can easily be imagined that not a one of them has been the same. Music, poetry, literature, sculptures, all have been called art in their day, and all have been dismissed by the next person in line. One person screams “Picasso” as the next bellows “Seinfeld.”

And what of those who don’t appreciate the semi-agreed upon “standard brands of art?” What about the mathematician who looks at the beauty of the Pythagorean Theory, and sees art? Or the mechanic who exalts the exquisite beauty of the “art of the Hemi engine? Is there not an artistic beauty within the strings of ones and zeros that make up the software we use each day?

The true definition of art is in its inability to be defined. No one can pin a nametag to art, and call it so, and yet art simply is, and always shall be. We each see art differently, hopefully, seeing it at least briefly each day. It is that which, in and of itself, is completely unnecessary for our survival, and yet, that which we would die without. It is what drives us, releases us, ignites our passions, pleases and confounds us. Art simply is… Art.

Which brings us to Inspiration. A term a million authors sipping a million cups of coffee could spew a million theories about, and still, not a damned one would work to inspire number 1,000,001. Is it reading the works of others? No no, it’s music, but not that kind of music, this kind. Screw that, grab booze, for booze is the best inspiration of all!

Long have artists glorified and lamented the mythical “Muse” for their craft. She finds them, brings divine inspiration, leaves, and casts a dark cloud over their work. She is fickle, she is giving. And she is complete bullsh*t.

Inspiration is not magical. It isn’t even tangible. It simply happens, often at inconvenient times. It is that thing that strikes a creator’s creativity with enough force to actually put it in motion, driving it past the lethargy and self-doubt that is ingrained in every creator from the time of their creation.

Inspiration is simply that which has the power to move you to act, rather than simply dream. You can see an image to paint in your mind, but true inspiration will force your hand to find the brush, and makes each stroke. It is what takes that story in your mind, and leads you off of the couch, sitting you in front of the keyboard, never resting until the last word is typed. Inspiration is what causes you to finally drop the word “aspiring” from in front of writer/painter/sculptor, and simply create.

And there we are: Three words, filled with so much meaning, defined for each of us, indefinable by any one of us. Words that drive us to create, to seek, to push ourselves. And thankfully, words that craft communities, such as this one, here, where this post resides. Each person who has posted here, and each reader, we all share at least one friend in common, likely many more. Creativity, Art, and Inspiration are what has brought us together, to commiserate, cooperate, and collaborate in our individual crafts. We share, debate, and inspire, drawing the creativity out of each other, to create our own art. Exactly as it was always meant to be.


Posted by on July 29, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts


2 Responses to 29 Ken Gainor

  1. Doc Coleman

    August 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

    The nature of Art is such that it is not judged by examining it, but by examining how people react to it.


  2. Neil Colquhoun

    August 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I guess it’s apparent that to an individual, creativity, art & inspiration mean different things.
    Stay Alive – Neil


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