Are there any principles to learn about creativity in art?. The ruling view says no. This assertion could be argued, however, has overlooked the various strategies pioneered and used (though sometimes in a rudimentary way) by the various movements in modernism e.g.:
Hermeneutics can go in two directions. One is a relativistic and logocentrist path, in which all seeing, art, ideology, and socio-cultural theory are trapped in a closed circle or "hall of mirrors". According to this view there are no intersubjective and cross-cultural criteria based on reason and observation for evaluating different ideas or artworks. The other takes a "cognitivist" and "pragmatist" path. This, by contrast holds, as argued by philosophers such as John Dewey (pioneer of the movement known as philosophical pragmatism) and J. Habermas (of the Frankfurt School) that theories and artworks can be critically assessed on the basis of reason, evidence and accumulative knowledge and experience - though such assessment might need changing in the light of new better explanations and evidence.
When it comes to content in relation to creativity we need to distinguish between a facile approach, with a sophisticated non-Cartesian approach. Cartesianism is an "atomistic" way of looking at society and its issues, it is a vision which looks at issues in an isolated way without connecting them to any wider social, historical or philosophical context. As such it never questions the underlying assumptions of society and all its attendent beliefs and conceptions along their adverse effects and consequences. In contrast, a non-Cartesian approach to content goes beyond the world of mere appearances to delve into its hidden structures, underlying causes and effects, unforeseen connections, thus dealing with issues at a deeper and more insightful level in order to broaden our understanding.
A creative approach to the content and ideas you wish to express as an artist is also a hermeneutic process of interpreting significance in life and the world around us. But how, one may ask, are we to distinguish between ideas and art, that are shallow or banal, and perceptive or fruitful? The problem is that, as the poet William Blake once said, "we can see a universe in a grain of sand". In other words, we project vast significance on something that may not be really be very significant. This is the error of the rudimentary one-liner and the intentional fallacy. Through these strategies, it can be shown we can develop art as a visual language able to articulate sophisticated and complex narratives about the world. In this way, we avoid the all-too easy and simple practice of projecting (as in the parable of the Emperor's clothes) immense or grandiose thoughts onto objects on which you could equally project entirely different interpretations with no way of judging which interpretation is right, or which does anything to enlighten our understanding of the world around us.
Ecologism and the new critical counter culture:
in relation to a chosen significant issue or theme
1. Embedded images to make explicit connections: The language like potential of art is developed via the application of visual equivalents for verbal tropes used in poetry such as the various types of metaphor (including metonymy, synectoche) and oxymoron. Connections are rendered more manifest through other techniques such as the embedding of one image inside another, layering/superimposing different images and building visual echoes or structural and funtional analogies between one shape and another.
2. a) Changes of Scale. b) Changes of perspective (or viewpoints) of various elements to enhance meaning and when combining figures or artefacts in the same compositon consider unexpected angles to view them, to avoid merely linear or graphic forms of representation.
3. a) Structural and functional analogies or echoes between one shape and another through the perception of similarities and differences, to build connections. b) Transformation or metamorphosis of forms or their parts to represent other forms or images, building connections, at a figurative level, by echoes, analogies o associations between one shape and another.c) Movement or motion devices for transforming or enhancing the dynamics of the composition.
4. Different types of signs (semiotics). Semiotic elements: three different types of signs.: - Icon: mimetic resemblance. - Index: shows an association (causal or functional) between things e.g. through the interplay or combination of abstract and figurative idioms - Symbol: arbitrary (conventional) sign with no natural connection or resemblance to its reference may include texts or verbal elements which unite a pictorial effect with a lexical message or reference.
5. Typographical elements a) Architectural qualities in letters. b) Onomatopoeic and synaesthetic association between typographical design, sounds, and the thing they mean. c) Expressive qualities of words though formal devices. c)Embedded images in letters. d) Positive & negative versions (as in photography) of typographical elements.
6. Spatial effects and relationships (coherence of space-depth cues) at a structural level applying to both figurativeand abstract art . At a more basic level the images are constructed in a spatially coherent and scientifically optical way in considering gestalt effects and respecting the interdependent functioning of "visual grammar" of the space-depth cues. This is in contrast to an arbitrary and slap-dash use of values and helps to make interpretation intelligible.
© Guillem Ramos-Poquí, David Rodway 1995
The following books on general theory are some of the best available, easy to read, and will serve as useful texts for artists, critics and art lectures/teachers interested in developing their knowledge of philosophy and socio-cultural theory in the context of art practice, the media and criticism:
WARBURTON, Nigel. 1992/95 Philosophy: the Basics. Routledge
PALMER, Donald. 1991/96 Does the Centre Hold: An Introduction to Western Philosophy.
GRAHAM, Gordon. 2000 Philosophy of the Arts. an Introduction to Aesthetics
FAY, Brian. 1996 Contemporary Philosophy of social Science.
CREATIVITY: DOs and DON'Ts © G. Ramos-Poquí, D. Rodway, 1995
|TRY TO AVOID||WHY ?||DO|
|Do not put an object or artefact in the middle of your painting (e.g. a banana, a shark, a circle, an electric chair, a horse, a set of scribbles, etc.) and then claim the work has profound metaphysical meanings (e.g. about death, about the world, about the self, etc)||From the point of view of composition It is too predictable, it is too obvious (we all know what these objects look like). From the point of view of content it is a "one liner" (it is the type of one-liner's which we see in advertising). An object or a scribble by itself it does not say anything, meaning is "up for grabs". Although they are connections, each art field has its own properties, e.g. panting is not just music (or should aspire to the condition of music); painting is not just literature or philosophy (although it can feed on ideas and concepts in these and other fields). Painting cannot be reduced to a "text". The physical properties of paintings (texture, size, scale, etc) make it different from other art fields. "Potentially" painting, (and the visual arts in general) has the possibility to articulate, creatively, critical complex ideas and meanings, and in this way the artist can make a contribution to our understanding of the world and culture in which we live.||You could have showed: 1) part of the object, and introduce other elements or objects to articulate meaning though poetic narrative or complexity.2) you could make a metamorphosis of the object into something unexpected to articulate and develop an idea, or meaning.3) put another object "inside" (or "embedded") to make a connection 4) articulate connections by means of similarities or dissimilarities of form and structure between the object depicted through formal devises (not showing the objects in full either, but on sections of them at unexpected scales).5) Explore bringing together different metaphors in the same composition 6) Explore the conjunction of opposites (oxymoron|
|Avoid symmetry in your composition at all cost. Do not start your composition with an image plunked in the middle||It makes the composition static and therefore abolishes the possibilities of dynamic interplay in the picture plane.||Experiment with different possibilities of composition|
|Do not limit your colour range to greys or predictable boring colour sequences||It is too easy. You are denying the possibility to develop colour in an interesting, unexpected, and challenging way||Experiment with different and unexpected colour combinations - in terms of "modulations" of "colour temperature": e.g. use different temperatures of any colour: blue, red, yellow etc. (and not just their "grey" variations)|
|Do not place all objects and/or forms "inside the painting" (or canvas boundaries)||The painting will not expand, it will be predictable, too easy, amateurish and static||Make objects "intrude" or enter from the edges showing sections of them (particularly when everybody know already what they are meant to look like). This will make the composition expand beyond the boundaries of the canvas.|
|Do not put a collection of objects or forms in a painting (e.g. inside a room) according to their ordinary relative sizes.||It is too predictable and academic||Change the scales of these objects and interrelate them, so something interesting and unexpected comes up.|
|Do not use a "lineal" and/or "single horizon" approach to your composition||This comes back to the conventions of academicism, this was superseded by the discoveries of cubism and there is no point going backwards.||Use a variety of perspectives or viewpoints in the same composition, juxtaposing them, embedding the images, etc. This, of course, includes the unconventional use of different and unpredictable scales of objects|
|Avoid at all cost dominating the composition with lines, (or outlining the objects or forms with heavy lines, or covering the composition with expressive, or inexpressive, scribbles and "empty gestures").||This is far too easy (it does not address the problem of colour -relationships) and the painting becomes rather like a commercial "graphic", or more like a drawing||Leave lines until the end, when the painting is entirely resolved in terms of colour and its elements. Use the "optical" (visual science) approach to define space though colour, which require skills and effort.|
|If you use typographical elements (or words) do not just do street graffiti in the middle of the canvas or use words in the picture, as in an advertisement||It is too easy and does not require skill, they do not relate to other forms in the composition||Words and images are part of today visual currency. You could use sections of words (rather than the whole word) e.g. coming from the edge of the painting, explore the letters using interesting colours, varying scale & shapes, or as structural elements|
|Unless you believe art is not about communication, do not take as a source personal, impenetrable, or inaccessible very personal mythology.||This could be seen as very self indulgent, a cryptic language with a completely arbitrary juxtaposition of signs that do not make any sense, obscure and private, leading to confusing and conflicting interpretations. This does not help a communication.||Choose a subject or issue that other people can relate or share, and treat it in an interesting, unexpected and creative way.|
|Unless you believe art is not about communication, do not just use titles such as "Untitled No. 3" or, if you have done a blue painting, call it "Blue painting".Do not use titles which are obvious, illustrative, or pedantic||You are unaware that titles can provide a door into the intentions of the artist.||Take time to find a title for each work, which will enhance the possible interpretation of the work. You could use e.g. a quotation for a poem, prose, or philosophy, but this should never be too long.|
Philosophy Chart: The Ecological Wholistic Paradigm in Art and Philosphy
Preparing a Proposal for PhD in Fine Art