The Creative Process

Inspired by... well... the Creative Process... Of course my process isn't this...uh...messed up...

Art is truly subjective, the subjugation of color and form to create something of which one can feel proud. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; the one holding the brush, holds the vision, holds the potential to create something that can be appreciated and admired. Some say that artists are born with their talent, that their unique manner of looking at the world is what allows them to share their perspective with others. Some truly believe that you cannot make an artist, you have to be born an artist, like creativity is something that cannot be trained and honed.

I say that these people are fools, and this notion is nonsense. I became an art teacher fifteen years ago because I wanted to prove that you could create artists from everyday people, that everyone had equal opportunity when it came to creative expression, and that even the common idiot could draft the modern masterpieces. I wanted to show the world that every single person could become part of something greater, could have their hand in objective beauty. I’ve always been of the opinion that, when someone creates, they leave a part of themselves in the end product. Some of us leave our signature, some of us our appearance, and some of us our blood, sweat and tears.

Art is an extension of self; the paintbrush an additional limb, the canvas a field in which we can sow the seeds of self- our love, our hatred, our sorrow, our smile, the simplicity of our own existence. This is true from paint to prose, brush to book, performance to pen; however one chooses to create their world, their artistic perspective, it becomes an extension of them.

Honestly, I could go on and on about this- as I stated before, I’ve been teaching people how to express themselves artistically for a decade and a half, but I feel I should keep my words more on the succinct side. You see, I’ve always been quite verbose, when explaining my paintings, giving my lectures, explaining why I grade art the way that I do. That last one is probably the most important part of this to focus on, given our circumstances.

I believe that I’ve always been fair in my assignments; I give a subject or an idea, I impose some very simple guidelines that my students must work within, and pretty much let them have at it. Sure, I’ll occasionally require a specific medium, or require that they think outside the box with their project, but honestly, I would prefer that my students take the theory I’ve taught them, and move into their own process. That’s how you create an artist, you tell them all about art, you explain how things work, you describe the mechanics of artistry- and then you let them disassemble your lessons and turn them into something of their own. It’s not unlike how children that grow up to be engineers will take apart the TV remote and put it back together. We all see what makes up the end product, we all see how things are supposed to work, but to get from point A to Point B requires you to create the process that is uniquely your own, one that only the artist can understand and utilize to an effective degree.

As with all things in life, there is an alternative side to all of this- and that is where you and I are situated in all of this. As I said prior, I am an instructor, and my job is to teach those that are willing to learn. Unfortunately this does come with certain requirements of the university that chose to employ me- I have to grade the art of others based on a numerical scale; simply giving constructive criticism isn’t enough for them. They also have this incredibly ridiculous requirement that no one is allowed to fail my class- because it’s an extra-curricular session, I’m not allowed to fail students. Doesn’t that sound preposterous? I’m expected to allow every single person that comes through the door of my room to sit there and do nothing, and still get a passing grade.

That is nothing shy of unfair for everyone that wants to be an artist, those that enter my room with the passion and drive to actually create beauty- and unfortunately word has gotten around that I can’t fail students, so every once in a while I get someone that thinks they can come in and sleep for a couple hours, and that there’s nothing I can do about it.

That’s where they go wrong though, as I’m sure you’ve figured out

Being an instructor of an art class, it’s not hard to deduce that I myself am an artist, one cannot teach what one does not understand. And when an artist is faced with a problem, they find a solution in a creative way, a way that allows them to properly express themselves artistically. Myself? I found that allowing my students to become a part of something bigger than just themselves was the best way to take care of this issue. I want all of my students to be successful, and if they are part of something successful, then I’ve done my job, correct?

Now that is where you come into the picture. Maybe you heard from one of your friends that this class was going to be easy, that you could come in and ignore all of my instruction, turn in none of your projects and I would be expected to pass you with a D- or something. Unfortunately for you, there are certain students that I cannot allow to pass my class, no matter how bad the university wants me to do so- and a 42% is just too far below passing for me to ignore.

So, we have to come up with a solution, correct? My solution is simple, and it’s one that I’ve utilized a number of times before. Each time I have a student that disregards my instructions, and decides that they can simply sleep through my lessons- I look for inspiration for a new painting. Just yesterday I was looking for that inspiration, and it came to me. I was at the park and watching the sun set, and as it did, the brilliant shades of red and blue mixed with the earthy tones behind the lake. The scene lit that fire within me, and I knew what needed to be done.

So, you may be curious about why I have you in my basement, hanging upside-down while I explain all of this to you. And you may be curious what I plan to do with the knife in my hand, and what the bucket under you is for…

Well, to answer that question, all I can say is- my next painting is going to require a lot of red…