It occurred to me today as I was racing around doing various “stuff” that I’m not really the stereotypical artist. You know, the deep introspective character filled with angst, always wears black, and probably has some sort of rebellious apparel going on – either pink hair, hippie jewelery, or a Save the Owls t-shirt. Not that any of that is bad, it’s just not me. Nope, I’m rather boring looking, usually in jeans and a t-shirt, hair pulled back because I hate it when it gets in my face. I probably wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of What Not to Wear.
Stereotypes are funny things. You could argue that there is a small basis in truth in every stereotype – for example, a lot of SNL skits poke fun at stereotypes and they get lots of laughs because we all recognize someone who fits the skit. After all, every stereotype is based on humanity, and you’ll find every shade of good, bad, and ugly in humanity. Somewhere, someone fits that stereotype of an artist – it’s just not me.
Despite not fitting the stereotype, I consider myself to be an artist. Other artists may disagree. While I do create “art,” some 70% of my life deals with the mundane crap that everyone has to deal with, be they artist or plumber. It’s the remaining time that defines me as an artist – what I do when I create – and the fact that I actually do create.
At heart, I think everyone could be an artist. Screw stereotypes – nothing says that only “Artsy” people can create works of art. All it takes is some creativity – and I firmly believe that everyone has a spark of that somewhere. You may not use it to paint canvas or mold pottery, but you can take that creativity and figure out a solution to a problem or do a little something to beautify your existence.
After all, no one ever said that you could only create great works of art – if that was the case, I would be out of a job.
Here’s another stereotype for you – I think that we, the American public, have lost a good portion of our creativity. We’re so focused on the next thing we have to do that we lose the time to be creatively fulfilled. We’ve lost that innovative spark – not totally, or we wouldn’t have entrepreneurs, artists, and designers who come up with all the interesting stuff. It’s Joe Public I’m talking about – the general public trying to make ends meet, and the next few generations that are rote memorizing facts to get through school.
How do you teach creativity? First, remove the stereotypes.