Creative Duets & Human Nature

April 17, 2011 § 6 Comments

The human mind is a minefield of creativity and brilliance.

A couple years ago, inspired by Donald Friedman’s acclaimed book “The Writer’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers”, I began to look more at artists who write and writers who draw and/or paint ~ creative people who are known for excellence in one art form, but also have credibility in another. Sometimes the second is overshadowed, or completely overlooked, due to the prominence of the first, but it’s interesting to see dual talents exposed.

"Palm of Creativity" / © Patricia Saxton

I love the topic. But it got my thoughts bubbling. …  As I see it, there have always been artists who cross mediums. Artists who write, writers who dance, dancers who sing, singers who paint, poets who play the saxophone.

It’s as if all these outlets arise from one great vat of creative expression.

So it makes sense to me that individual creativity, more often than not, spills from one medium over into another. It’s probably far less common to find a musician without a drop of interest for painting, or an artist with no stirrings of choreography running through their mind.

At the same time, it seems to be human nature to categorize or label: He’s a writer. She’s a dancer. He’s an artist. She’s a pianist. Just the way someone is a carpenter, or a doctor, or an accountant.

Yet none of us are one-dimensional. We arrive packaged with multi-faceted interests, talents, skills, propensities. I never understood why some feel the need to box people in to one “thing” or another, to say they “are this” or they “are that”. But to answer my own question, I suppose it helps frame the individual, helps us see them in some logical way.

In reality it isn’t always logical. There may well be strong leanings – creatively, mechanically, scientifically, etc. But there are also lawyers who paint, writers who fix cars and accountants who sculpt.

It starts early. There are “good kids” and troublemakers. Cheerleaders and jocks, geeks, nerds and rebels. Later your career choice defines you. Or your mate’s career choice. Or your kid’s career choice. There’s some real pigeon-holing that goes on. But we are all so much more!

We’re all fascinating, creative beings – whether writing, painting, solving crimes or tending the sick, cooking, singing, crunching numbers, building engines or raising livestock.

Sure, it’s flattering, that someone who writes and paints and draws is considered somehow unique. But I don’t agree that it’s so unusual ~ I believe that every single one of us has gifts that overlap. Maybe they’re not as easily defined, or maybe just not as romanticized, but they’re there ~ awesome, mysterious and immeasurable.


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