Creativity and artistic ability

There is a myth going around about creativity being the same thing as artistic ability. People use these two terms interchangeably and in doing so they continue to promote a lot of confusion in both themselves and the people around.

You will hear “I can’t draw, I am not creative” when in reality being unable to draw (or draw artistically) is tightly related to artistic ability or lack of, and not creativity.

We are all born creative and remain creative throughout life. Your creativity looks different than another person’s and it will manifest itself differently for you depending on your age, environment, and stages of development we go through (that is to say that your creativity will be differently expressed when you are 5 years old versus when you are 40).

For most of us, creativity manifests itself in common day to day situations when we face mundane problems that require effective solutions (i.e. if you don’t have a ladder when you need to hang curtains up, creativity emerges and with it different possibilities and solutions that will help you figure out an effective and viable solutions, like using a chair instead).

Creativity has nothing to do with the arts, although arts are directly influenced by creativity.

Artists (painters, musicians, dancers) require both creativity and artistic ability –along with other things- in order to complete their endeavor. Some artists use their creativity more, others less, however they possess skills (the artistic ability) necessary to paint or write music. Creativity in this context is an added touch to the work an artist does, and clearly can improve the work dramatically. For a lot of artists to create something requires a mix of artistic ability, talent, technique, personal style, and creativity.

For creative people (you included) artistic ability is not necessary in order to live creatively.

The problem with not recognizing the distinction between creativity and artistic ability is that when someone says they are not creative, they are in fact taking away from themselves and minimize one of the most positive abilities we are capable of, as human beings.

We sell ourselves short and convince ourselves deep down of yet another thing that we don’t have and yet another attribute that makes us feel like we’re “less than”. Certainly this attitude creeps in subtly and our beliefs about ourselves become changed on an unconscious level rather than other obvious ways.

Make an effort to consciously embrace your creativity (because no matter who you are, you have it) and experience the powerful positive change (a diversity of solutions and possibilities) it brings with it in your life.