The Origin of High Quality Creativity

In an earlier post on this topic, I stated that artists (of all kinds) develop their artistic vision by “examining and exploring the implications and ramifications of their personal vision of existence. In other words, they explore their philosophy of life.” The most powerful elements of a personal vision of existence or philosophy of life are the product of the creative person’s unique set of emotionally important ideas, which make up the self. High quality creativity springs from the struggle to attain self-knowledge and authenticity. Great literature, poetry, painting, and sculpture tells us something about life as the artist sees and experiences it. By recognizing, and then shining a light on, the archetypal aspects of their vision and their experience, artists include the illuminating sense of the universal in their work.

Writing Desk by Olga Rozanova (cubism)

High level creators learn how to combine their own worldview with the process of self-discovery to develop their unique artistic vision. (image: wikipaintings)

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How Artists Develop Their Artistic Vision

Artists must develop over time, and they do this by examining and exploring the implications and ramifications of their personal vision of existence. In other words, they explore their philosophy of life. When the artist combines this activity with their view of a particular branch of the arts, what emerges is their artistic vision; the artist’s preferred subject matter and style. The combination is sometimes so unique that the artist’s works, whatever they may be, are instantly recognizable.

Tree of Life with Angels and Rivers

Many creators hold their personal artistic vision with religious zeal. (Image: public domain)

Artists create because they want to express their vision. Their powerful need to make sense of life  means they create for their own edification as much as anyone else’s. Yet each artist has his own way of thinking about the nature of vision. Joseph Conrad described vision as, “the inward voice that decides.” Things were more fluid for Virginia Woolf who declared, “The vision must be perpetually remade.”

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Henry Miller’s Childhood Reading

Henry Miller

Henry Miller is a good example of how childhood reading has a powerful effect on the kind, and style, of work writers produce as adults. (Image: public domain.)

I enjoy comparing my own adventures among books with those of famous authors. All writers, whether they are well known, obscure, or as yet unpublished seem to have a lot in common. However, there are exceptions. Henry Miller, author of oft-banned books such as Tropic of Cancer, seems to be one of them.

In The Books in My Life, Miller describes his vivid memories of books read during his childhood. He has astonishingly clear recollections of covers, illustrations, historical eras, famous people, even where he first encountered certain words. Looking carefully at that list of recollections, I decided he must have been a heavy reader of non-fiction. It struck me how much Miller’s rememberings differ from my own memories of youthful encounters with books.

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