3 Ways to be Creative

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photoCopycat. I’ve never heard the word used in a positive way, and that’s too bad. Copying is an important part of the creative process.

Let me explain . . .

I’ve spent the past few weeks learning about Spanish art and art history. It’s helped me think about how artists engage in the creative process, and about creativity and the learning process, in general.

Here are my three takeaways:

Artists copy. They do it to learn. All creatives and innovators copy, be they painters, writers, teachers, snowboarders, or chefs. The copying process lets us work through the strategies and techniques other, more successful and experienced artists have used before us. We also learn through the doing, something researchers call embodied cognition.

Artists reinterpret. In 1656, Spanish artist, Diego Velasquez, painted what is considered a masterpiece in his work, Las Meninas (The Maids of Honor). In 1957, Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, reinterpreted Velasquez’s work in 58 paintings of his own. Creatives and innovators reinterpret, as well. For example, the car service, Uber, reinterpreted what it means to take a taxi. Lyft’s done the same.

Artists innovate. Artists like Velasquez, Goya, Picasso, Miro, and others broke new ground in artistic techniques, styles, and master works over the course of their careers. They set new trends and blew the lid off what had come before. Today, we see a lot of this happening in the tech space. In particular, we see how tech innovations are impacting the fields of medicine and education.

Why are they important?

We are all artists, innovators, and creatives. In essence, we are all learners. That means that any one of these approaches to learning is an important one, with none more important than any other for the creative process.

We can all participate in the creative process, entering it at any point we need to – copying, reinterpreting, or innovating. Each of these ways in to the creative process helps us learn. If we’re trying to teach the creative process, these takeaways can help with scaffolding.

Are you creative? There’s no debate. Yes. You are. The question is, how are you being creative?

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