Creative energy is an interesting entity. It manifests itself in so many different ways, is expended at vastly varying frequencies and means so many things to so many people. The one thing that is widely acknowledged is, it ain’t easy.
Despite the fact I don’t see myself as a creative person and am, objectively shit at drawing, presentation or writing in long hand, in the eight years that ShadowPlay has been in existence the increasing hold television, new media and most importantly, phenomena like the invention of Facebook have created a nation of young people that make bashing out some words, stealing artwork and photocopying them look vibrantly expressive. There are two elements at play in this conundrum: dedication and raw talent.
I see and envy people with the latter all the time, marvel at the way they can find a creative spark and envisage an idea instantaneously. What makes me turn even more green is that, on the whole, many people who turn their hand to one thing – say drawing – and succeed usually find themselves a consummate Jack of all trades at a number of skills.
The central conceit of my day job, journalism, works on this basis. That artists are somehow set apart, that their work means they have achieved an ‘otherness’ and the more lauded they are the more license they have to talk about more quasi-psychological and social matters. Whether it’s just more convenient to work this way is another matter but certainly a few notable examples of artists interviewing each other in music magazines have yielded eminently readable results.
As for dedication, that implies that you can learn to be creative. That absorbing enough information will help bred the skill forcibly but this is a flawed concept, assuming that creativity comes from the conscious, rather than the subconscious.
In truth, their co-dependent. There’s no point having raw talent if you’re not prepared to work for it. I have recently started working on two fledgling projects run by dedicated an admirable Londoners – as reviews editor for football website footymatters.com and as a presenter on shoreditchradio.co.uk (The Anoraks – stream and download at http://shadowplayboys.podbean.com). The dedication of the volunteers who work for both projects has been promising but not always consistent. Personally I find myself compartmentalising creativity outside of my 9-5 life, thinking it’s not possible to think in a more expansive manner when concentrating on busy day-to-day tasks, which is pathetic. So how can young people be convinced that it’s work putting in the time and energy to find a creative release outside study, work or an increasingly common unemployed malaise?Looking at my monthly night Come Get Felt Up (run at the Book Club along with the legendary Anna Harding, Nathan Crawley and Tom Whalley) each month, the small release that participating in a silly competition in which people craft Blue Peter style for naff prizes get from the creativity is particularly evident. So unleash your creativity – glue an egg box, write a letter or build a wonky boxcar – you might just feel better for it.