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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How to Look at Art: Creativity in art and science.

Artist Kazimir Malevich, self-portrait
Artist Kazimir Malevich, self-portrait

Creativity encompass all aspects of human life: arts, science and business. Ingenuity can manifest itself in all human activity.

Creativity in art

Highly creative artists, like painters Malevich, Pollock and Warhol, influence radical change in social and political life. ‘Throwing paint’ in the face of convention, they invent new symbolic languages and appropriate an art status to the mundane.

They create new worlds. Like the ideas of cubist artists Braque and Picasso of representing objects from multitude viewpoints influenced our understanding of modern democracy. Like the ideas of constructivists, like Tatlin proclaiming ‘the streets are our brushes, the squares our palettes’, shaped how we relate to our environment.

Art is not autonomous. It does not serve the state or religion, or illustrate the history. It is certainly not decoration, entertainment or subject for commerce. Art is there to change people’s perceptions and transform societies. In that sense, artists drive progress and enable evolution.

In creative industries, transferring their talents to industrial design, media, advertising and architecture, artists are the integral part of nations’ economies. Their ingenuity inspires and challenges us to look beyond the obvious and see the real world not only for its beautiful effects, but for its structure and alternatives.

Creativity in science

Science experiences a less explicit but no less important relation to creativity. Scientific methods can appear lacking creativity, but no one would dispute that all scientific discoveries can be attributed to the creativity of scientists. A Nobel Prize chemist is no less creative than Picasso. ‘Scientists are artists as well,’ said Albert Einstein.

Contrary to the popular belief, scientists do not ‘analyse’. They think creatively: they imagine possibilities. Emerging itself in a subject, having knowledge at hand and observing, the mind of a scientist wonders, making connections until that ‘aha!’ moment when new ideas present itself. Like Isaac Newton observing a falling apple discovered the law of gravity. Or, like engineer Nikola Tesla connecting the ‘rotations’ of the sun and magnetic field created an electric motor.

Creative process

Creative process in art and science is the same. It consists of the four stages: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification (G. Wallas, Art of Thought, 1926 ). The more creative individuals are the easier they move along these stages.

Preparation is when artists and scientists focus on a problem, exploring all of its possible dimensions. Incubation is when problems are internalised into the subconscious mind, and the brain begins to form new associations and connections. This stage can take time, so rushing it may lock the thinking ‘inside the box’. Illumination, or insight, is when the creative ideas burst forth into the conscious mind.

Humanity relies heavily on creative artists and scientists. Their innovations impact on the quality of our life. They advance our understanding of the world. They drive our astonishing ‘miracles’ and heroic adventures.

‘Creativity in business’ is the subject of my next article.

Alla Tkachuk founded Mobile Art School in Kenya. Become ‘Kenya Patron of the Arts’, contact Alla for more information on [email protected]


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