Redefining The Creative Process

As an art therapist, art-making is more than just a function of my job title or what I do for work. I do my best to live and breathe that in which I most believe: the creative process. Art-making is my method of interacting with and making sense of the world around me. I use the creative process deliberately and intentionally to both understand the self and to transmute existential angst (which we all experience to some degree or another) into a visual representation of both inner and outer worlds. The creative process is my outlet and whatever is yielded as a result of the process is a static representation of the self in relation to the whole.

Once the process is complete and there is an end result (a product), the creative process typically ceases and the product-oriented creator seeks another way to satiate the desire to be productive and, from personal experience, I have admittedly done just that. At the point a process is complete and something that resembles a viable product has resulted, it can be tempting to just throw an image up in the blogroll and call it a day. However, in restructuring my thinking and coming to a better understanding about how my creative process works, I have determined that I get the most of my process when I am able to engage with others. Ultimately, engaging with others was my reasoning behind starting the Tell Me What You See series of posts but, admittedly, I haven’t kept up with that, nor have I done enough to make those more dynamic discussions.

The dynamism of the creative process comes into play when one considers how each piece created (each product) is a reflection of universal patterns and social constructs and serves to bridge the gap between self and other by encouraging engaging interaction. The ongoing conversation and dialogue that take place as a result of the creative process is the method by which focus on self shifts to focus on connecting to and making sense of the world; It is in this way art-making is therapeutic, the creative process is transformative, and engaging with others is what makes it dynamic.

Rather than remaining stuck spinning in the inner world of thought, fear, projection and illusion, we can use the creative process to transcend the perceived maladies of the soul and the incessant need to emote the self, or to seek understanding of the self and shift focus to a more dynamic and collaborative exchange of ideas about the creative process and its subsequent results. Reaching out instead of retreating within.

In fashioning the content for my Girl At Play page, I have unexpectedly redefined how I approach the creative process. In the past, I have admittedly (and short-sightedly) described my process with terms like “emotional outlet” and “creative catharsis”. However, I feel such vague terminology is an oversimplification at best, as it gives the illusion that the creative process (for me) is merely the culmination of heady emotions and resulting visual imagery. This blog, any subsequent blogs, any creative writing and any dialogue that is a result of any part of what I put out in the world is all part of my creative process. My life, whoever or whatever I believe that I am, all that I put out there, share and discover is the creative process by which I engage in the world. None of my creative process would be possible were it not for how I connect my inner world to the world around me; the world in which I am more than merely a static entity waiting to die; the world in which I am an active, dynamic participant as the creator, the observer and the observed.