Archive for April, 2011


In week 4, we were required to read Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s extract on the traits that the creative individual has. A brief summary of Csikszentmihalyi’s ideas in the text can be explained as: the creative person holds polar opposite traits. Now this immediately brings to my mind, the way in which horoscopes define our personality by broadening the spectrum, creating the illusion that it’s aimed directly at you. Although upon further reading of the text, it is apparent that there may be more to the idea at hand.

The first of the ten traits describes how the creative mind is found in those who portray a great deal of physical energy while also constraining themselves to rest at certain periods. I personally feel that this point largely relates to myself as I find myself at alternating energy levels throughout the day and I do consider myself to be creative. I agree that the mind requires a certain balance between the adrenaline rush of thought and the mental meditation, the individual must have a control over their energy; able to focus when necessary in order to achieve  the most acceptable result. Although I do feel a little unstable about the idea whether energy is not determined by an external schedule, on the one hand I agree that we can be creative regardless of time, yet on the other hand I feel that we are persuaded by our own individual schedule; I tend to feel more creative during the latter part of the day, a time where my mind has allowed itself time to mentally stretch and get prepared for upcoming challenges, some would say that I am an evening person (Plotnik & Kouyoumdjian, 2010, pg 155).

The second point relates to the intelligence of an individual, in that the more academically oriented tend to be constrained by the need to follow specific rules while the plain ignorant does not have the mental understanding of what is able to be done. To have a balance between these two allows one to use their knowledge in combinataion with freedom of thought in order to create something new. I find it quite interesting that after a certain point, a high IQ is no longer a beneficial trait in regards to real life, as the cutoff is apparently at 120 (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996, pg 59); meaning that being the extreme of either end of the intelligence spectrum may hold a lower level of creativity, not being a definitive rule but rather a theory.

Playfulness and Discipline are the third personality opposites, basically outlining the need to have control over the serious and child-like side of a mind. When a task is at hand and there is a time restraint, one must be able to focus on the task, while on the other hand the playful state of mind seems to aid in creative thinking, allowing one to freely experiment in the mind. Personally; I feel that this point is somewhat repetitive, in that it could have been added to the specifications of the previous point.

Alternating between reality and fantasy in the creative mind, seems to me like the ideal masterpiece portrayal of what creativity is; the individual must in fact have a sense of what can actually be achieved but also being able to push the mental limits of imagination; the ability to bring the mind into real life.

Introvert and Extrovert are two opposites which may be difficult to understand how they can co-exist within the same mentality, but upon reading the required text, I have been slightly persuaded to believe that a person must hold the ability to become a ‘solitary genius’, being that they are not entirely dependant on other’s approval nor their ideas. Although there must be a balance as with any of the ten traits; in this case it is the idea that one must also be able to see other points of view, one cannot be soley defined by their own understanding of the world but must also take into consideration the perception of others. In my area of graphic design it is largely apparent that we must take context into consideration, due to the fact that we are not only creating for the eye of our own demographic but rather the entire world. Colours in Culture is an interactive model of how different colours can have different meanings depending on the common ideas of a country and its experiences, in graphic design, this is important to consider that the design doesnt send across the wrong message.

Humble and Proud are two characteristics in which help the creative individual to understand what role they play in society. As with the majority of life’s elements, there will always be an amount that is either too much or too little. When a person is too proud of their work, they tend to overlook the opinions of others and become entirely self-absorbed in the passion of their own work, while on the other end of the spectrum, there is the idea that being too shy may hold back the enthusiasm to show off their work, thus unable to circulate artwork for appreciative purposes.

The seventh point is quite simple and yet can be branched into a number of topics. The two genders have been largely stereotyped over the years, holding back the thoughts of artists; constricting them to the hopes that the males do not appear overly feminine and vice versa. In this point, it is important to consider that we must hold traits from both genders, the strong and brave masculine, but also the soft and delicate feminine.

Pushing the limits of a specific domain is a small summary of the eighth point. One must learn and accept a domain of their choosing but not be bound by it, they must be willing to break the usual understanding in order to create something unique and unseen.

The ninth point outlines the idea that you must be critical of your own work but also passionate. You must feel the need to work on it constantly, but also not be completely absorbed in it that you are unable to criticize it in any way.

The final point is largely dependant on our emotional state, whether we let our own personality get in the way of how we create, emotions can be like a bear trap in our minds, once we touch upon them; it becomes incredibly hard to let go of the feelings. The creative individual is able to feel pain and harm for their work, but they must also stand strong and be capable of understanding criticism.

Our mind is an infinite piece of art that paints our individuality through our actions and creations.

References:

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). The Creative Personality. Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention (pp. 51-76). New York: HarperCollins.

Hodges, P. (2010). Zoho Lab: Interactive Colours in Culture [Interactive]. Retreived from http://lab.zoho.co.uk/lab/interactive-colours-in-culture/

Plotnik, R., & Kouyoumdjian, H. (2010). Introduction to Psychology (9th ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, Inc.

Creativity is normally thought of as “mysterious mental happenings” but a lot of theories “demystify” the process of creativity. Briefly define or describe the following:
 
 Freud’s Psychoanalytic account – The theory that there is an unconscious interplay between the libido and the ability that one has, the understanding that being creative is seen as directing sexual frustration into an acceptable medium dependant on the socially developed  individual. Freud also outlined that creative thinking had traits of a child, different to childish, rather it was the playful ability and willingness to learn that defined the imaginative personality.

Primary and Secondary process – Primary process relates to relaxation and the mental state of mind where the physical body is at rest; the mind is given time to freely roam into the fantasy dimension of thought, unrestricted by rules and logic. While on the other, the Secondary process is governed by reason and logic, perceived as the realistic adult point of creativity.

Rugg’s Transliminal Chamber – Middlepoint of the Conscious and Unconscious, the preconscious can form ideas that slide between fantasy and reality, playing with metaphorical relationships.

Skinner’s Behaviourist Account – In my own opinion it seems to be a pessimistic view of the subject which suggests there is no such thing as creativity but rather a formation of idea, controlled by a superior eg parent, judge, law official, teacher etc. One’s creativity is limited by the rules and guidelines that he/she has learned from another, such as the singer is told which notes do not rhythmically fit together.

Mednick’s Mental Association theory – One’s ability to be creative is measured by the broadness of mental association, a less creative individual may see the only relation to the word “arms” being that of the human anatomy, while the creative seems to possibly associate “arms” with guns, Australian Research Management Society, tattoos or even robotics.

Roger’s Self Actualization theory – Creativity springs from the psychologically safe environment which aids in the adaptability to experience and the self control of a situation.

Sternberg’s Three Facet model – The three facet model summarises the usual characteristics of a creative person. Intelligence is the first facet which is basically self-explanatory, the Cognitive style is the adoption of one’s own rules; straying from the usual mentality. The last facet is the Motivated personality which drives the idea into possibly being made happen.

Amabile’s three part model – Contains three components: containing the skills within a particular domain eg painting or photography. The second component is the skills one has to allow creativity across a range of domains. The final component is related to the motivation one has.

Csikszentmihaly’s and Gardner’s three-part models – One of my favourite definitions of creativity, due to it’s simplicity.

Basically there is the creative person, of which displays a certain level of talent

Mime sitting on air

The Talent

 He or she recieves formal training in the domain

American Mime Theatre

The Domain

 And finally the verdict is based upon whether or not the observer finds it substantially creative

I find it quite interesting that in this age of immediate satisfaction through internet, anybody can be a creative judge for anything as long as it can be recorded in some way or another in regards to the human senses, in the three examples that I mentioned above, the individual displays an ability to portray scenarios using only the body, while furthering this ability through training in the domain. It is then finally judged by any random human on this earth who comes across this video from searching any of these tags: ART, VS, SCIENCE, Parlez-vous, francais, Art, Vs, versus, Science, Music, Video, Parle, parlie, vous, James, Boyce, dutch, Grumpy, Sailor, Alex, roberts, nick, fogarty, australian, clip, electro, pop, unique, dan, mac, jim, finn, williams, fight, red, best, music, video, ever, camera, fast, edit, relevant, funny, humour, comedy. Which makes me wonder, is there really a measurement to creativity? Where do we draw the line that says it is no longer creative, it is pointless, no mental thought in the process of creation?

I have recently discovered that we need not answer all questions in the tutorial sheet to achieve a minimal passing grade (of which I hope to surpass greatly…… hope being the key word) therefore from this blog onwards, I will be discussing the questions I found most interesting while also relating to the lecture and producing evidence that shall be intended to aid my point of view.

When you are engaged in creative practices, is there a method and/or theory that you use?

My theory is that music largely affects the flow of my creative process, I am a large believer of this due to previous experiences in my life being persuaded by music. The first example of music affecting creativity and lifestyle is the use of fast paced music to increase the likelihood of a adrenaline rush which seems to increase mental & physical activity in my case. The other example is related to my drawings; slow & passionate music seems to help with flow of line and a steady hand as exemplified in this drawing:

Melancholy by AIZ-is-me at deviantART

While on the other hand, the anger inducing music illustrates a fast sketchy style that portrays different figures, as exemplified in this drawing:

Bring it on by AIZ-is-me at deviantART

Consider the following situations, which reflect aspects of the theories above, and suggest at least 5 creative solutions/ideas for each:

You are a hungry student without food or money – My very first idea that came straight to mind was to steal.

My Second idea was to go on a hunger strike (thinking since you are already up 5h!t creek without a paddle, why not make it look like you did it on purpose) protesting the need to pay for food at educational facilities, referencing the prison in Cambodia that provides food to prisoners while also offering development of technical skills.

Prison Food Comic

My third idea was that you could disguise yourself as a contaminations expert and wander around the educational facility that you are attending, in an attempt to convince your target (aka the dude with your favourite sandwich) that you are on an assignment to “test” whether or not food is edible, hinting that there may have been a radioactive outbreak in the food supply.

I'm Only Wearing This because my lab coat is in the wash

The fourth idea was much less radical, it relies on selling drawings or if you are not an artist, you could ask or persuade an artist in some way (maybe pose for them) into allowing you to sell their artworks

Hand Drawing Hand

My final Idea was to distribute I.O.U in exchange for food

References:

(n.d.). T-Shirt Design [Image]. Retrieved from http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419rUeTWbaL.jpg

Davis, G. A. (2004). Definitions and Theories. Creativity is forever (pp. 58-73). (5th Ed.). USA: Kendell/Hunt

Escher, M.C. (1948). Drawing Hands [Artwork]. Retrieved from http://www.etropolis.com/escher/hands.htm

Knight, R. (n.d.). Mime Sitting [Image]. Retrieved from http://www.mimethegap.com/acts_french_mime.htm

Roberts, A. [Director]. (2009). Parlez vous francais [Music Video]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRZ-jLOrFfk

shu0347 [CartoonStock ID]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/p/prison_food.asp