Creativity and Individuality 

Saturday, May 29, 2010 5:25:00 PM

-R.S. Bisht

There is always a collective and also an individual experience which fertilises the creative faculty.

Two apparent parallel main streams are visible in the present day art world: one, the collective creativity which is born out of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, national or international art experiences, and the other the individual creativity which is born out of adventure, and at the same time one which crosses all ethnic, cultural and other barriers, and as such difficult, hazardous, hard and unknown.

Being a practitioner of art, educator of long standing, it prompts me to give some serious thought to the art scene of today in terms of environment, the creative urge, the momentary impulses and the impact and influences it makes through the works of art, artefacts, articles, lectures, literature, science and technology.

Today we are living in a complex and difficult world, one in which whatever happens in any part of the globe, gets known to us immediately. The whole world has become a little hermitage where art and culture are intermingling and social and political interactions taking place, and a new world is rapidly emerging. It is thus, new psyche, new ideas, new visual symbols, new elements flow. The enlightened artist is expected to understand these ongoing processes and the various aspects and aspirations arising out of it. This will help in creating art according to the sensibilities and understandings of each individual artists, such as, I am sure, will be very different from each other in its approach, expressions, content and form.

It is this culture which also allows complete freedom to plastic artists, to the extent that today any thing which the artist claims to be an art such as ‘Happening’, ‘Conceptual Art’ and so on attracts the attention of people; whether they agree or disagree is a totally different matter. A number of forms which could be the forms of other areas of creativity such as theatre, literature and religious activity are termed as art events. This concept varies from nation to nation, from culture to culture and from one artist to another, but it has one thing in common, i.e. international culture. But this also involves in-built heavy responsibilities on every artist. He has to be extremely honest to his art and his conviction, despite the hardship and difficulties he has to undergo in his pursuit of creativity.

There are artists of other kinds who have a different psyche from plastic artists; they are craftsmen, calendar artists, advertising and industrial, or many of these sorts who cater to the aesthetic, emotional, functional, religious and cultural needs of the cross section of people living at various levels, but it is the plastic artist’s psyche which is constantly impelling him in the quest of new experiences, new idioms and techniques.

There is always a collective and also an individual experience which fertilises the creative faculty. Plastic artists with their sensibility, and rigorous training of crafts and discipline of mind, help them react in a creative manner adding a new visual vocabulary with vigorous experimentation corresponding to their talent and sensibilities. (This need not be true in case of all the plastic artists). They are in the process confronted with many visual problems, in terms of design, texture, volume, space, medium, etc. Their involvement has inbuilt excitements and frustrations. This leads them into an area of the unknown from where they have to pick up all these elements, which can be transformed into visual language.
Still there are many artists who are insensitive towards these global developments. Though they are remarkably dedicated artists in their own terms, but they live emotionally in the past centuries. They sculpt and paint with traditional or established styles and techniques with conviction though without bothering much for the response, whether favourable or unfavourable they get from the spectators, art critics and connoisseurs of art. There are artists and artists who are working in various ways, various levels and also with various objectives and they can be judged by the same parameter. One must have separate parameter for each of them. Human activities and human affairs are very complex ones, and so is creativity. It is imperative to imbibe a broader outlook, understanding and sensibility in order to appreciate work of art. The genuine work of art must be encouraged irrespective of the styles or techniques, so that the art world becomes richer and richer.

It is easy to copy or imitate or follow trends, but it is very difficult to carve the original and individual path for oneself. Today an individual, who is part of the whole, has to face these challenges all by himself. On one side the whole experiences of physical and non-physical culture of the entire world artists, artisans and art-writers right from the pre-historic period to today are available to him and on another side for him the complex, tedious, hard, exciting, challenging and unknown creative journey is ahead. It is up to his genius to utilise these experiences to his best advantage. He is supposed to have a very sensitive, sharp vision and creative faculty of a different kind. Specially in a situation where choices are unlimited and the creativity of an individual artist is subject to a type of challenge where he has to create a work of art in his own terms. He can see and concretise the known into the unknown and vice-versa. It is this category of artist who act as catalysts; thus they become more significant.

The artist—whatever categories he belongs to, is a visualiser and commentator at the same time. Through his act of creation he enriches human life and his environment. His art pieces are instrumental in focussing on the complex social and other problems, in feeding the aesthetic and also in uplifting the soul of the beholder.


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