“I love breaking the myth of the starving artist. That is such a lie that people tell artists from the day they are born, and it’s so sad that so many artists psych themselves out with this myth.”
Musician Magdalen Hsu-Li continues, “There is always a way to make a great living from music or any art form if you are willing to use your creativity to the business aspect.
“People think that creativity should only be in art and the business should be in business. But the most successful business people use their intuition and creativity to problem solve and figure out how to make things work.”
So Yong Kim is a director, producer and writer. Her latest movie is “For Ellen,” starring Paul Dano and Jena Malone.
In an interview, she talks about a number of aspects of developing her script and shooting the film – aspects of creative expression that impact other artists as well.
Like many creative and talented people, she purposely seeks challenge and difficulty:
“I think it’s surprising for people because I did two Korean language films, and suddenly I’m doing this film with actors and cast that are white and named. But the decision was because I felt, I can do a film in Korean, I want to do a film in English.
“I speak English, why not? And it’s so much fun and freeing somehow. As an independent filmmaker, I think if I made another Korean language film it’s like ‘yeah, of course she can do that.’ It’s like challenging for me to use different colors in the pallet.”
How do you think about being creative versus the business aspects of success, like marketing? Do you see them as separate, even mutually exclusive?
Do you think of creative expression as something more “spiritual” or “pure” than sales or business?
We may see and read about many examples of successful – even extravagantly successful – artists, but they are usually celebrities, and mostly not solitary creative workers.
There is not much media attention on the millions of creative people with careers in film production, book cover illustration, fashion design, video game creation and so many other creative occupations – many of them often working as entrepreneurs, responsible for their own achievement and success.
Many creators probably don’t think much about the value of marketing to get their ideas and creations out to a wider audience, to have more impact and success.
Do we get more creative with more intelligence? How do intelligence and creative ability interact?
Dean Keith Simonton, PhD thinks “Intelligence is purely a cognitive construct. Creativity on the other hand, I see as being much more complex.”
Like other writers on creativity, he makes a distinction between “little c creativity” and “big C creativity.”
He says creativity in everyday life, solving everyday problems, or “little c creativity,” “is very closely related to intelligence because intelligence includes, as part of it, problem-solving abilities.
But, he adds, “when you are talking about ‘big C creativity,’ you’re talking about being able to generate new ideas, generate some kind of product that’s going to have some kind of impression on other people…a poem, a patent, a short story, a journal article or whatever.
“But it’s something that is a concrete, discrete product that is original and serves some kind of adaptive function.
“And that kind of creativity, that big c creativity, involves a whole bunch of other characteristics besides intelligence.”
“Creativity is always collaborative, even when you’re alone.” Keith Sawyer
“Artists work best alone.” Steve Wozniak
Different kinds of creative expression have different needs in terms of solitude versus collaboration.
In my post Creative collaboration, for example, actor Keith Powell of the TV series ”30 Rock” comments about the atmosphere of the writers room for the show – a common example of collaboration in the creative development of many art and entertainment projects. Movies and TV shows involve dozens, even hundreds of people at a time.
In the same article, I note that Professor Keith Sawyer writes in his book Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration that “creativity is always collaborative, even when you’re alone.”
Novelist Taylor Stevens was born and raised in an infamous cult.
A New York Times article says, “Growing up, she bounced from city to city, often living in cramped and impoverished conditions, rarely spending more than a few months at a stretch at one of the cult’s dozens of communes around the world.”
The article notes her first novel The Informationist has “already secured gushy blurbs from brand-name thriller writers like Tess Gerritsen and Vince Flynn and the inevitable comparisons to Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, which also features an offbeat, spunky heroine…”
[From An Unorthodox Life Yields a Novelist of Promise, By Christopher Kelly.]
[Also see a guest article on my High Ability site: 3 Things To Learn From The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – A Gifted Trauma Survivor, By Lisa Erickson, MS, LMHC.]
In another article, Stevens comments, “We never called it a cult when I was growing up. We were told that we were chosen by God to be special.”
“It was just a story I wanted to tell. Writing it was an expression of my own coming out. Getting it out there was willpower, feeling this is a universal story about identity and it has to be told.”
Writer and director Dee Rees is referring to her movie “Pariah” – about a lesbian teenager struggling to keep her sexuality a secret from her family.
A review article explains that the lead character Alike (pronounced Ah-LEE-kah) “lives comfortably with both parents and a younger sister… gets great grades in school and is an avid writer.
“And though there are hints that Alike’s burgeoning sexuality might make her the target of derision or violence from men in her neighborhood, this isn’t a movie about a girl being punished for her sexuality, but about self-discovery even within a difficult context.”
A profile described how artist Maggie Taylor works:
“Using 19th century tin-types, photographs, and images, she scanned them on a flatbed scanner. She then combines them with some other images that she photographed, acquired, or other objects that she scanned. These images are then composed, combined, and colorized by using the Adobe Photoshop program. In a typical image composed by Taylor, there can be as many as 40-60+ layers.
“There were a lot of benefits to being dyslexic for me…I think I came into an appreciation of all those qualities of language…” Novelist Richard Ford
The traditional framing of ADHD, dyslexia and some other conditions as “learning disorders” seems to be increasingly challenged by the views of many researchers and artists that these can be considered “learning differences” and that such neurodiversity can actually benefit creative expression.
Of course, something like ADHD doesn’t magically become “good” or benign just having a different label, and many people’s lives are disrupted by such conditions.
An article on actor Charlize Theron, for example, said she “finds acting a struggle, because she suffers from chronic Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)” and the symptoms of “distractibility, restlessness, inability to sit still and difficulty concentrating on one thing for any period of time make it much harder for her to concentrate on a movie project.
“She tells gossip site The Scoop, ‘I have ADD, so for me to go and really dedicate myself to something for a period of time, it’s very important for me to like it.’” [Daily Dish sfgate.com, Wednesday, January 5, 2005]
In her article The Creative Struggle, Julie Burstein writes about painter Chuck Close and his challenges.