#21 QofR: Answering a Question with a Question

At the beginning of this unit we were told that we can’t get it wrong, that there is no right answer and that we’d probably generate more questions than we answer…and now I can see how true that really is! In Mike Harkins’ lecture he explained that our research should have a focus, a perspective, a way through – because we can’t explain everything. He equated this focus to a white dot on a black square of paper and that our work should show the journey of this dot:


My question or ‘dot’, if you like, ‘In what ways can subversion help develop creativity in relation to practice?’ has taken several forms:

‘In what ways can I subvert my own practice in order to develop my own creativity?’

‘In what ways can I subvert practice in order to develop another person’s creativity?’ (Workshops)

‘In what ways can we subvert resistance in order to develop our creativity in relation to practice?’

A quote that has really stuck with me is from ‘War on Art’:

“The part of us that we imagine needs healing is not the part we create from; that part is far deeper and stronger. The part we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did, or society did. That part is unsullied, uncorrupted, soundproof, waterproof and bulletproof.” (Pressfield, 2012)

I now believe that creativity isn’t necessarily something that can be ‘developed’ as such but rather unleashed, exposed, freed.

In order to fulfill our true creative potential as artists, writers, actors etc we must learn how to beat our resistance on a daily basis.

And so the question transforms once again:

‘In what ways can we subvert resistance in order to free our creativity in relation to practice?’

“Resistance Never Sleeps: …fear doesn’t go away. The warrior and the artist live by the same code of necessity, which dictates that the battle must be fought anew every day.” (Pressfield, 2012)

In order to free our creativity we must accept that our ‘resistance never sleeps’ and we have a battle to fight every day. I believe that daily challenges are a brilliant place to start. The way we unleash our creativity is like a muscle, the more you practice the easier it gets, ideas flow better, techniques improve and because you being so productive you feel as if you can be more adventurous; you have nothing to loose, there’s always tomorrow. We are fighting the resistance we’ve developed over the years so that we are able to enjoy creating like we did when we were children. We are fighting to reconnect with the joy!

What was once a feeling of jealousy when you looked at other artist’s work is now a way to find inspiration. Danielle Krysa is also known as ‘The Jealous Curator’ – launched in 2009, she writes a daily post about an artist whose work makes her jealous. She says in the introduction to her book ‘Creative Block’:

“I spent a lot of time looking at other artist’s work. Whenever I found something I truly loved, first I would feel a rush of cheek-flushing inspiration – the kind that made me want to run out and buy ten new canvases so that I could become the next great artist of my time. But only moments afterward, I’d feel a wave of soul crushing jealousy – the kind that made me think, “Who am I kidding? I could never make something like that.” Negative and destructive? Yes.

Luckily, at that same moment, someone very close to me gave me a bit of advice. He said, “Jealousy that is kept inside becomes toxic, and it will eat you alive. But if you say it out loud, you can turn it into something positive: admiration. You need to do this.”



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