Before children talk, they sing. Before they write, they draw. As soon as they stand, they dance.’ We are all quick to profess that we can’t even draw a stick figure, but forget that we were all born with vivid imagination swarming with endless possibilities of a Lego tub.
Art continues to serve mankind as a form of communication, allowing artists to tell stories and spark revolutions through words, canvas, and sometimes, even with a blank space. But what is it that makes art a manifestation of the innermost emotions? What makes humans express themselves through dance, music or paintings as a form of unspoken communication, even before they learn to communicate, that lets many see them for who they really are? And why is it that most of us lose the artist in us as we grow up?
To understand this, we need to first dispel the notion that art concerns itself only with the deepest and loftiest of human realities. There is a place in art for the full range, and the most trivial of emotions; be it the playful, the witty, the fun-filled and even the lighthearted. Art is of and about man and is bound to what man wants, fears, loves, dreams, idealises, and worships.
What needs to be understood is that the human spirit that lies at the heart of all art does not always come in equal-size packages. ‘All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up,’ observed Picasso. Some art is just simply truer, finer, bigger, or greater than others; just the way humans are. We come in all sizes and so does art. And that is what defines one artist from the other. Some are born with a bigger share of knowledge of our emotions than others. Some are more in touch with their feelings. And that is precisely what distinguishes an artist from the one born with art as a form of his intrinsic nature from the one who retains a touch with emotions as he grows up.
The popular conception of creative people is that they were born that way, with creative gifts. They are the ones who grow up to be the Da Vincis, Giottos, romantics, novelists, and inventors of their age. The mystification around creative people perpetuates the misconception that only the ‘chosen’ ones are blessed with any creative or artistic ability. But the fact is that we all begin life as imaginative beings, but we forsake our creativity as we grow up. Creativity is ‘educated’ out of our system by the ideological barriers of school and society.
To date, art remains a clouded subject. How it develops in each one of us is subject to our individual experiences, upbringing, openness to new ideas, and how we connect the dots in our individual experiences.
So, can creativity be taught or is it an inherited trait? Perhaps, the notion of creativity needs to evolve with the times we live in. It can no longer be restricted to the artistic constraints of writing or painting or dancing. The way we talk, our mannerisms, our jokes; or something as mundane as making a cup of tea is a creative response.
We are all artists, and the critics cannot detect the difference.