Student: Thank you again for agreeing to this interview.
As you know, I’m interviewing you because I consider you to be a creative professional and I want to know how you think about creativity and your creative experiences.
1. I know that you’ve been painting for some time. I know that you create pieces that others wouldn’t dare to think of, but have been recognized around the country for your innovative ways. That’s enough for me to consider you to be a creative professional. If you could answer the following questions to the best of your ability, that would be highly beneficial to me and my classmates.
Are you comfortable thinking about yourself as a creative professional?
Student: Can you tell me about any specific moments/times/points of creativity of which you are particularly proud?
SS: I am working on a new body of work, #RainbowRibbonMagic, where I use ribbons to represent extensions of female creative and emotional energies. For the series, I recently arranged a two-day collaboration/photo-shoot, where the first day my friend and I created a giant mural of a “goddess”, and the second day I styled four of my friends (two fashion designers, one painter, one musician) and directed them in a photo-shoot interacting with the mural. That creative process felt so fulfilling because it was such a big production, a rewarding collaboration, and the process of creating it with so many artistic and inspiring women felt so aligned with what my series is about.
Student: 2. The next question is kind of hard yet it’s important. We want to hear how various creative professionals think about creativity and their own personal creativity.
How would you describe your creative process?
SS: I think of my business as a creative project, and I think of my art as a creative project. I’ll just talk about my art practice in this answer. Typically, I:
- Come up with an idea, sketch it out, purchase props and find location and models for the shoot, etc
- do a photoshoot. This process is very creative because it’s a lot of discovery, making things up, and running with ideas on the spot.
- Create my painting using the photos as reference. This part is creative in a very different way – I’m always making aesthetic decisions throughout the process of making the painting.
Student: In our class, we’ve talked about two parts of almost any creative process: coming up with the idea and executing the idea.
(side note: Some academicians in the field have put forth rather complex suggestions about the unfolding process of creativity. (See Amabile.)
We’re trying to make it simple in our class. We all pretty much agree that all creative work involves some mix of ideation (coming up with the idea of the project) and execution (making the idea tangible, consumable by others, manifest in this world, embodied).
3. Does your creative process include both “coming up with ideas” and executing ideas?
SS: Yes it does
Student: 4. Is either ideation or execution more important in your field?
SS: for my work, I think both are equally important. If I have an amazing idea but not the skill set to execute that idea, I won’t achieve the desired effect. If I have amazing technical painting ability but don’t come up with interesting content, the work will suffer. There are, however, painters who have careers finding a subject that is sellable and painting very similar things again and again. If the painter feels satisfied painting very similar themes, then I would argue that for them the execution is more important then the ideation.
Student: 5. Do you believe you are equally good at coming up with ideas and executing ideas?
SS: That’s a tough question, but I’d say yes. As with many creative processes though, sometimes I am overflowing with ideas, and sometimes I can’t come up with anything I’m happy with or excited about. Same for painting – sometimes I can’t wait to get to the studio and I’m very productive, and sometimes I’ll spend a whole day making backward steps on a painting.
Student: 6. Do you think there is value in creative professionals being aware of both their own ideation processes and their own execution processes? Using these distinctions to get clear about short-term goals, expediencies, outsourcing,…………..
SS: I think there is some value making that distinction when a creative professional has been steadily creating work for years. When a person is an aspiring creative professional though, or relatively new to making creative work, I would argue that getting too heady and analytical about their process might take away from an organic process of creation and discovery. I think once a creative professional has found a rhythm and is more established, it can be helpful to understand their process in order to maximize efficiency. Still then I think flexibility in the arts is very important.