Creativity versus Talent

Another foundational concept about creativity that is a tremendous misconception for many people concerns the relationship between cre-ativeness and artistic talent. They are not the same. Let's prove it. Look at the two pictures below.

One is an early Dutch portrait. The other is a photograph of an onion ring tree and dip dispenser. I ask you to think carefully about this before you answer: Which is more creative?

It's so easy to look at the wonderful portrait, the product of tremendous artistic talent, and think, "That's where the creativity lies in this matchup," when in fact there's very little if any creativity exhibited there. If this portrait represents what this seventeenth-century gentleman looked like, then the painter didn't create anything. He re-created the image of an individual in two dimensions, in static form as opposed

Creativity and talent are two different things. Sometimes they coexist. This book is about developing your creativity. For ways to develop your talent, go to the Yellow Pages and start with Arthur Murray Dance Studios.

to the living, breathing being that the portrait sitter was. This handsome individual's parents created him, and time and genetics dictated what he looked like at the time of this portrait. But the portrait itself shows no evidence of creativity on the painter's part. The portrait shows artistic talent documenting something that was already in existence, whereas the onion ring tree is a form I've never seen before. It is unique. It is a new idea manifested as a cheesy, plastic kitchen item. Hey, no one ever said creativity has to be pretty.

Creativity and talent are two distinct things that sometimes coexist.

Many people don't take a shot at being creative because they're confused by these two notions. I hear it all the time: "I can't draw a straight line, I'm not creative." "I can't sing, I'm not creative." Singing is a talent. Drawing a straight line is a talent. Or you can use a ruler. But, maybe just thinking of a straight line is the solution to a problem no one's ever had before. Then that's creative. It takes no artistic talent

Timeline of a great idea (continued)

Timeline of a lousy idea (continued)

"But it sounded so good at the time."

to think of a straight line. Anyone can have the idea of a straight line, whether or not they can draw it.

This misconception is so pervasive in our society. I see it all the time. Creative Needlework is the name of a book of patterns from which you copy an idea that someone else had. Well, the person who initially had the idea was creative, but everyone else who has ever copied that pattern definitely was not performing anything creative in doing so. Even in a creative cooking class, if the master chef tells you exactly how to do it, you have to create nothing.

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  • Alem Yemane
    Is creative thinking a talent?
    3 years ago

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