Living And Sustaining A Creative Life Pdf
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- PDF Download Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists Full Format
- Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists
- Living and Sustaining a Creative Life
Black Lives Matter. We stand in solidarity with those affected by generations of structural violence. Subscribe now. When read in sequence, the essays coalesce to form a chain-link narrative of 40 different careers that all began some time in the last quarter of the 20th century.
PDF Download Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists Full Format
But what happens to those ideas? Do they become profitable innovations? Creativity —generating ideas—is relatively easy. Innovation —putting them to work—is far more difficult. Innovation takes courage, energy, and staying power. No wonder many companies neglect it. Powerful ideas kick around, unused, for years—because no one assumed responsibility for converting big talk into bigger action.
These guidelines can help:. Whenever anyone suggests an idea, require them also to include at least minimal indication of what it involves—costs, risks, manpower, time, and specific people required to carry it out. Backed by factual and logical support, good ideas are more likely to get a hearing—and a champion.
Though many creative people consider organizational structure an obstruction to free-flowing creativity, organization can actually support innovation—making it far less risky than employees might think. Organization does appear inhospitable to new ideas. After all, the purpose of organization is to establish the order and conformity businesses need to get work done.
Companies require organization; otherwise, they would unravel into chaos. But too much organization can choke new ideas—which firms depend on for their very survival. Somewhat paradoxically, the order that comes with organization can actually reduce the risk of innovation. With their broad economic base and large pool of employees, companies can distribute the risk of implementing ideas across numerous individuals. This makes it easier—economically and personally—to break new ground. So encourage people to start implementing their ideas, not just continue talking about them.
If this is true for creative individuals in your firm, designate a specialized group whose sole function is to receive their ideas, work them out, and follow through on the implementation details. Murray Lincoln, president of Nationwide Insurance Co. Ted Levitt, a former editor of HBR and one of the most incisive commentators on innovation to have appeared in our pages, takes dead aim at the assumption that creativity is superior to conformity.
By failing to take into account practical matters of implementation, big thinkers can inspire organizational cultures dedicated to abstract chatter rather than purposeful action. In such cultures, innovation never happens—because people are always talking about it but never doing it. Organizations, by their very nature, are designed to promote order and routine; they are inhospitable environments for innovation. Only the organizational insider—the apparent conformist—has the practical intelligence to overcome bureaucratic impediments and bring a good idea to a fruitful conclusion.
And for the line manager, particularly, it may be more of a millstone than a milestone. Those who extol the liberating virtues of corporate creativity over the somnambulistic vices of corporate conformity may actually be giving advice that in the end will reduce the creative animation of business. The trouble with much of the advice business is getting today about the need to be more vigorously creative is, essentially, that its advocates have generally failed to distinguish between the relatively easy process of being creative in the abstract and the infinitely more difficult process of being innovationist in the concrete.
Their emphasis is almost all on the thoughts themselves. Moreover, the ideas are often judged more by their novelty than by their potential usefulness, either to consumers or to the company. Suppose you know two artists. One tells you an idea for a great painting, but he does not paint it.
The other has the same idea and paints it. You could easily say the second man is a great creative artist. But could you say the same thing of the first man? Obviously not.
He is a talker, not a painter. My observations of these activities over a number of years lead me firmly to this conclusion. They mistake an idea for a great painting with the great painting itself. They mistake brilliant talk for constructive action. But, as anybody who knows anything about any organization knows only too well, it is hard enough to get things done at all, let alone to introduce a new way of doing things, no matter how good it may seem.
A powerful new idea can kick around unused in a company for years, not because its merits are not recognized but because nobody has assumed the responsibility for converting it from words into action. What is often lacking is not creativity in the idea-creating sense but innovation in the action-producing sense, i.
One of the most repetitious and, I am convinced, most erroneous answers we get to this question is that businessmen are not adequately creative and that they are enslaved by the incubus of conformity.
It is alleged that everything in American business would be just dandy if industry were simply more creative and if it would hire more creative people and give them the chance to show their fructifying stuff.
But anybody who carefully looks around in any modern business organization and speaks freely and candidly with the people in it will, I believe, discover something very interesting: namely, there is really very little shortage of creativity and of creative people in American business.
The major problem is that so-called creative people often though certainly not always pass off on others the responsibility for getting down to brass tacks. They have plenty of ideas but little businesslike follow-through. They do not make the right kind of effort to help their ideas get a hearing and a try.
Many people who are full of ideas simply do not understand how an organization must operate in order to get things done, especially dramatically new things. All too often, there is the peculiar underlying assumption that creativity automatically leads to actual innovation. In the crippled logic of this line of thinking, ideation or creativity, if you emphasize the idea-producing aspect of that term and innovation are treated as synonyms.
The former deals with the generation of ideas; the latter, with their implementation. It is the absence of a constant awareness of this distinction that is responsible for some of the corporate standpattism we see today.
Lest there be any confusion, it is not essential that innovation be successfully implemented to qualify as innovation. The object of the innovation is success, but to require in advance that there be no doubt of its success would disable its chance of ever getting tried. Many people who are full of ideas simply do not understand how an organization must operate to get things done. The fact that you can put a dozen inexperienced people into a room and conduct a brainstorming session that produces exciting new ideas shows how little relative importance ideas themselves actually have.
Almost anybody with the intelligence of the average businessman can produce them, given a halfway decent environment and stimulus. The scarce people are those who have the know-how, energy, daring, and staying power to implement ideas. Whatever the goals of a business may be, it must make money.
To do that, it must get things done. But having ideas is seldom equivalent to getting things done in the business or organizational sense. Ideas do not implement themselves—neither in business nor in art, science, philosophy, politics, love, war. People implement ideas. Actually, in a sense, it is even irresponsible.
This is because: 1 The creative man who tosses out ideas and does nothing to help them get implemented is shirking any responsibility for one of the prime requisites of the business, namely, action; and 2 by avoiding follow-through, he is behaving in an organizationally intolerable—or, at best, sloppy—fashion.
The trouble with much creativity today, in my observation, is that many of the people with the ideas have the peculiar notion that their jobs are finished once the ideas have been suggested.
They believe that it is up to somebody else to work out the dirty details and then implement the proposals. Typically, the more creative the man, the less responsibility he takes for action.
The reason is that the generation of ideas and concepts is often his sole talent, his stock-in-trade. He seldom has the energy or staying power, or indeed the interest, to work with the grubby details that require attention before his ideas can be implemented.
Anybody can verify this for himself. You need only to look around in your own company and pick out the two or three most original idea men in the vicinity. How many of their ideas can you say they have ever vigorously and systematically followed through with detailed plans and proposals for their implementation—even with only some modest, ballpark suggestions of the risks, the costs, the manpower requisites, the time budgets, and the possible payout? In some instances it must actually be inferred that they use novel ideas for their disruptive or their self-promotional value.
To be more specific:. One student of management succession questions whether ideas are always put forth seriously.
He suggests that often they may simply be a tactical device to attract attention in order to come first to mind when promotions are made. It should be pointed out, however, that something favorable can be said about the relationship of irresponsibility to ideation.
The generally effective executive often exhibits what might be called controlled momentary irresponsibility. He recognizes that this attitude is virtually necessary for the free play of imagination. But what distinguishes him is his ability to alternate appropriately between attitudes of irresponsibility and responsibility.
The fact that a consistently highly creative person is generally irresponsible in the way I have used the term is in part predictable from what is known about the freewheeling fantasies of very young children:. They are extremely creative, as any kindergarten teacher will testify. Yet the unique posture of their lives is their almost total irresponsibility from blame, work, and the other routine necessities of organized society.
Even the law absolves them from responsibility for their actions. Clinical psychologists have also illustrated what I call the irresponsibility of creative individuals in Rorschach and stroboscopic tests.
For example:. A theoretician is not immediately responsible for action. He is perfectly content to live dangerously because he does so only on the conceptual level, where he cannot get hurt. To assume any responsibility for implementation is to risk dangerous actions, and that can be painfully uncomfortable. The safe solution is to steer clear of implementation and all the dirty work it implies.
Not surprisingly, few of these people have any continuing day-to-day responsibility for the difficult task of implementing powerful new business ideas of a complex nature in the ordinary type of business organization.
Few of them have ever had any responsibility for doing work in the conventional kind of complex operating organization. They are not really practicing businessmen in the usual sense.
They are literary businessmen. The fact that these people are also so often outspoken about the alleged virulence of conformity in modern business is not surprising.
Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists
In this day and age, when art has become more of a commodity and art school graduates are convinced that they can only make a living from. Each story is different and unique, but the common thread is an ongoing. Both day-to-day and big picture details are revealed, showing how it is possible to. These stories will inform and inspire any student,. Each story is different and unique, but the common thread is an ongoingcommitment to creativity, inside and outside the studio.
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Living and Sustaining a Creative Life
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F] Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists Full Pages Details Details Product: In this day and age, when art has become more of a commodity and art school graduates are convinced that they can only make a living from their work by attaining gallery representation, it is more important than ever to show the reality of how a professional, contemporary artist sustains a creative practice over time. Each story is different and unique, but the common thread is an ongoing commitment to creativity, inside and outside the studio. Both day-to-day and big picture details are revealed, showing how it is possible to sustain a creative practice that contributes to the ongoing dialogue in contemporary art. These stories will inform and inspire any student, young artist, and art enthusiast and will help redefine what success means to a professional artist.
Go from overwhelmed, anxious, and stuck, to consistent, clear, and in control of your creative life. Build a reusable structure and process that will consistently get you to the finish line. If you follow her exercises, you can clean out the cobwebs of your goals and processes and find the clarity to drop the nonessential and focus on the art you want to make more than anything else. I was really impressed. It is practical and down to earth, and it is realistic.