Where does creativity come from?

17 01 2011

I am reading Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet by Matthew Fox.  The book is provocative, as is its author. (Fox, a proponent of Creation Spirituality, was censured by the Vatican, officially “silenced”, and dismissed from the Dominican order)  To illustrate, the title of Chapter 5 asks the question:  “Is original sin the refusal to create, and is redemption the liberation of creativity?” I haven’t gotten as far as Chapter 5 yet, but I am interested to read Fox’s answer.

Back in Chapter 3 (“Where does creativity come from?”) which I read earlier today, the following quote struck me:

“Artists need an inner life just like everyone else.  They also need an outer life, that is to say, a cosmology, an awareness of how we got here and what “here” constitutes in its holy vastness and its unimaginable diversity and creativity.”

As I thought about this concept, two artists whose work has had a significant impact on me came to mind.  The first is Faith Ringgold, whose story quilts offered an entirely new idea of art and the artist’s role to me when I viewed them for the first time in the late 1980s.  The second is my cousin, Stephanie Failmezger.  Stephanie has created a medium she calls “bead mosaic”, which is unique and which she often uses to express her cosmology.  Her latest piece, made up of 24 3-inch beaded quilt squares promises to bring together her influences (such as Mexican art) and the profound spiritual vision underpinning her artistic vision.  While Stephanie and I don’t share the same cosmology, the appeal of her work is that this subtext is expressed so eloquently that her pieces can, literally, be read on many levels.  They speak to the heart even while the mind is grappling with the technique used.

While I don’t have any hard and fast answers to the question asked in the title of this entry, I do believe that it is worth asking not only where creativity comes from, but who is the one doing the creating?  These are questions I am trying to answer for myself.

(I encourage you to check out Stephanie’s work at the following link http://www.facebook.com/pages/SRF-Creative-Studio/113765095304197 )

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