SO, what is creativity?  It's a concept i try to work through on pretty much a daily basis.  

And i certainly think it has relevance to anyone involved in any creative endeavor.  Although at that point we've already reached the level of misnomer, defining a concept by referencing itself.  Like the notion in artificial intelligence research of the homunculus, which could be thought of as intelligence being defined by a little person inside the brain pulling the strings who has another little person inside it's brain, etc. So once you get to the point of defining a phenomena at the level of the homunculus you're completely missing the point, or at least not explaining anything.

So again, what is creativity?  Obviously as an artist you'd like to tap into it.  To be perceived as being creative.  Hopefully to be driven by the spark of creativity and the energy it gives you as you explore it, which i personally think is a much better place to be coming from than just the desire to be perceived as creative.

Is creativity necessary to create art?  i wonder. I think my reflex answer would be 'of course it is'.  But maybe that's my perceived bias.  maybe that notion is totally off base.

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying 'genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration'.  There's also a hilarious quote from J.G. Bennett on Robert Fripp's 'Exposure' album that goes something like 'having a bad disposition is no obstacle to work'.  I think both of these disparate references by masters of their individual craft are pointing out something very similar. Maybe the focus on the 'magic' of creativity is missing the point.  The real point is putting in the time, putting in enough time and energy into your particular craft to make something interesting happen.  And at the end of the day we call that creativity.  And attribute the results to our resident imagined creative homunculus that lives somewhere within us in some hidden place.

Now i'm probably a little unusual because i ask this 'what is creativity' question wearing several different hats.  I'm interested in the notion of tapping into creativity from the standpoint of creating visual imagery.  It's something i like to do.  Hopefully i get better at it over time.

But i'm also interested in building machines or software programs that are creative in themselves.  Studio Artist can be viewed through many different lens, but one of them is the notion of exploring artificial creativity.  Studio Artist is a giant sand box that allows for exploration of all kinds of notions of visual intelligence, visual and artistic representation, etc.  Some people get excited about this whole concept.  Other people get highly offended. Even physically angry in some extreme cases.

So a mechanistic explanation or model of creativity is of huge interest to me.  Because in order to build a creative machine or software system you have to get down to working with mechanistic descriptions at some level to do anything. Otherwise it's just all discussion of philosophy.

Now we could argue all day about whether Studio Artist is capable of creative or intelligent behavior.  It has passed the Turing test, we've submitted artwork generated by pressing the action button to art contests curated by human judges and won prizes.  I certainly have my own opinions about what works well, what doesn't, what needs more research,  what we don't understand, etc. That whole topic is probably better suited for another discussion thread if anyone is interested.

What got me initially started on this whole creativity philosophical discussion this morning was some reflection on a technique that seems to underlie a lot of my personal brushes with creativity.  It involves the notion of recombination. Taking some piece of information, or technique, that was designed to do some very specific thing, and then twisting it around and using it in a totally different way.

So at least for me, i think that this approach to working is something that underlies most of the creative work i've done over the years. Both technical and artistic.  

Even the core ideas embedded in Studio Artist are really a manifestation of this particular approach.  Studio Artist takes well developed practices and ideas from music synthesis and auto software and re-conceptualizes them  in the context of digital art and computer image generation.  All of the visual intelligence computational modeling living inside of Studio Artist is based on pre-existing research in cognitive neuroscience, it's just being taken and used in a very different context then it was originally intended to be used in.

Another key component of why i think Studio Artist succeeds is related to the notion of synchronicity. By this i mean the sum of the parts in some combined entity being more than the individual component pieces added together. When Studio Artist really succeeds artistically i think the notion of underlying synchronicity is a key component in that success. So perhaps this is another notion of defining creativity i need to think through more. And perhaps it's a bridge between mechanistic descriptions of creative systems and the notion that some people have that none of this phenomena can ever be modeled or doing so misses the whole point of it.  But keep in mind, if you're building software at some point you have to get concrete in your descriptions and analysis or you'll never get anything accomplished.  

The Portrait Virus Mutations project i recently undertook is what has me currently mulling over this whole notion of 'what is creativity'. Like many projects of this nature, starting it has ended up leading me in whole new directions i would not have initially conceived of if i hadn't started down that particular path. I'll be posting more information on those developments as they unfold. 

And i'm also getting some really interesting feedback from other Studio Artist users about how the notion of stack filtering relates to their own work that i hope to post more details on soon.  If you have your own thoughts on this feel free to contact me directly or post something here on the forum

So, i hope you find some of this discussion relevant to your own work. I'm certainly interested in other people's thoughts on this notion of 'what is creativity'. 

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'Is creativity required to create art?"

To manufacture images, no.

To create art, yes.


Your response is easy to agree with if one assumes creativity is based on an Absolute. I have come to believe that creativity is relative. Someone(or a child) who is attempting something for the first time may indeed be creative within their realm. However in relationship to a larger picture, the result may be rather dull and unexciting and in no way revolutionary. 

There was a time when the color blue was not visible to the human eye. Perhaps perspective was not seen and therefore impossible to represent in a painting. The "artists" who had evolved/become more aware and had the vision/ability to see what no one else could and discovered a way to express it in their work were at the cutting edge of a new level of consciousness(creativity) for the human race. Their works were considered seminal as Da Vinci was when he painted the Mona Lisa and imbued her with a life and personal emotion that had been previously absent in stiff, wooden religious art of the past. Today if someone copied a previous style with great  mastery, the art may be incredibly beautiful, but not particularly creative. Creativity involves discovering a "place" that has not been visited before. 




If it is all relative and one can see that (not just say it), doesn't it imply one has an absolute point of view?

Here's what T. S. Eliot says about "all that" (creativity and its origin), his "Four Quartets" have been with me everywhere I have gone for many many years:

"Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot
To emulate--but there is no competition--
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."
(East Coker, excerpt from part IV)

quoted from an old article of mine found here

If, as Merleau-Ponty stated, each one of us is a brand new point of view on the world, every attempt is indeed a new start, and likely a new kind of failure. In that sense, each one of us, given an honest approach to work, to life, is (like) a child.

Each time (some go even as far as saying that this is the case with each breath...).

But what would the "larger picture" you mention be?

Is that an absolute? If so, you may have to look at your original statement again, or is it a relative thing, thus being meaningful to some, but not others?

If the latter is the case, how can art, and the emotions it can trigger, be shared?

To be sure, that can be, that is shared.

Maybe we could try another way: is creativity found, or created?

Jean and 73x15,

Since we live in the world of words, the limits of those words would be the grave site for any Absolute. For the Absolute as I understand it at this point in my lifetime (it is always changing) is a Cosmic Essence, an Unmoved Mover that is eternally evolving, with  perfection, imperfection,including the darkest Dark the brightest Light, all shades in between and perhaps a formless form that which transcends all Light. What is All is None, especially in a dualistic universe.  Words, as Elliot alludes to have limits that are discovered by those who would choose and use them. Words as most of us use of them in a ever changing environment (we are part of that environment), can not directly or perfectly represent a "truth," or any Life form that is constantly changing. Words are in fact seeds, and our relentless efforts to understand and get to the core of their meaning is a life long process that "opens" the core of the seed to the depth of our being.

One of the most profound books I have ever read was from the Princeton Bollingen series by Carl Jung...  "Answer to Job." My interpretation of it has been that God needs man to evolve as much as we need God. As individual rays of God's Cosmic Consciousness, as we evolve God evolves. In other words, if God is Absolute in the static sense of the word instead of the organic living sense of the word, God (which I understand  as The Creative Principle) would be dead. In other words, no movement (rigor mortis), no life. God, ie, the Absolute, is ever changing and evolving as Darwin has  described as the Evolution of all life forms. How does one limit an Absolute when that Absolute is not rigid or even knowable. Perhaps Zen and Buddhism has a better way of using words to describe the indescribable. If Creativity is, as I am inclined to believe, an expression of a God or Cosmic Consciousness, how could one ever come up with a definition (ie, limit it) any more than one can define God? What was is no longer in Timeless Time. The Presence of the Present is all consuming. 

I do not confuse Creative with originality in the sense you are speaking about it

What is reality? Certainly not the physical world as is so convenient to believe. The physical world is but a mirror of something far more profound. 

Creativity, I contend, is an encounter one has with God, as the vessels we can be and are especially after peeling away the layers that block and limit our freedom(us)... Edison's perspiration fits here. As Artists we channel a transcendental  energy which takes form as  art or life in a myriad of different ways. The greatest paintings tend the be the mirrors that reflect great breakthroughs in the consciousness of mankind and are universal in nature.

My feeling is that our greatest creativity occurs during the course of our lives in which we are "the canvas or sculpture" that we create and manifest. Great souls leave great footprints. And those who recognize this would follow in the footprints of the masters, hoping to glimpse and realize Nirvana.  We see this all the time as artists who seek to learn the techniques and understand the secrets of the Masters.  If one is fortunate enough to live life as a true artist one is coming from the HeART" and is practiced in the "Science of Being." Great artwork reflects this.  

OSHO, a very controversial guru who has long since passed, has a wonderful book called "Creativity" subtitled "Unleashing the Forces Within." It is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. The subtitle implies, I believe, that essence (creativity) is within. 

I will leave you with a short quote from OSHO that touches my romantic soul:

"Creativity is the fragrance of individual freedom."



This thread has, for me, reached the point of "too many words."

I'll end my participation in it with a link to an article on Milton Resnick, "A Question of Seeing."

I met Milton a few times when I was living and teaching in NY (1978-1984), and during a conversation that dealt with "creativity," he said the following: "All my life, I have battled with the brush, and the brush has always won."

Indeed, that seems to be the "plight" with the good ones (I have had the privilege to meet a few of those), they reach(ed) a level at which they no longer (if ever?) do/did the driving.

Their strength is not found in/coming from "control," but rather, in/from "surrender."



I agree with what you have written, Jean and understand. Yet I am  also sorry to see you go.

Paul, aren't you confusing 'creative' with 'originality'?

i am thinking of this person in the act of copying an original, evaluating how much of this  and that color to mix,  how much pressure on the brush, for how long, etc.  All this questions

seems to require an answer that involves somebody or something imbued with some kind of intelligence or capacity to self stop and restart, insist til consider the job done. Simply put, creativity is the basic act  of interacting with reality.  The Quality or Value or originality

is another matter altogether.  Even the latest reproduction of the most copied image in history: 'the gioconda', can be a masterful expression of creativity... say i t were done

(very much a'la Studio Artist)  using the stars that the Hubble Telescope has capture in its sublime pictures of the cosmos, as paint!.  Would it be original? Probably no in the sense that the original idea for that precise fisical configuration is a  Leonardo's one.  But in it's own merits (as in the 'artistic eye' needed  to select just the precise kind pixels (stars in this case) to emulate certain shade) would grant its deserved status of a creation and  even an original one to that. Using a telescope as a brush! Am certing Leonardo wouldn't be insulted And even John migth feel a little bit of pride. And all becase a magnificentely done copy of an original.

sorry john, you mean to say  to that i have post this reply it in the wrong thread

(lol, am i lost?!)

sorry then, but for what is worth,  i just was trying to define what is (and not) creativity, and i was wondering: shouldn't  the form be in sync with it's content?

the doble door thingy eludes me...

Your post was fine. I was apparently just slightly mis-interpreting what you were saying.

'is creativity required to create art'?  Well,  seems to me that the answer to that question is an unconditional: Yes.
creativity  IS required to create. (art, babies, replays, etc) and it is also the same answer to the reverse question: Art must be Creative.
What's not absolutely necessary is INTENT. Is, i submit, totally irrelevant. e.g. the intent of the Classical Greek Sculptor when so perfectly recreating the human shape, that was able to go much further and also create its soul.
(and even further yours, mine and most of the contemporaneous global cultural spirit )
Or the Medieval Mason Master Builder when erecting it's fabulous Cathedrals with its massive humbling beauty.

In all this cases there is a doing (intervening and interacting with an objective reality)

and is the only thing that clearly remains.  The intentions are buried on interpretation or totally forgotten.  Creativity needs action no intention. Action resides in the future because the future is build out of time.  Time is the dimension where creativity duels.
Intent resides in the past, in its vast space of memories.
We have no need of the motivations, nor of it's intention of an artist in order to recognize the artistic quality of her work.
The subjectivity of 'Intent' is , well, subjective and much more open to debate.  In creating there is no trying, there is no such a thing as 'Yes, i intent to'
Only: Yes, I Do.
An Artificial Intelect can trully produce creative art and for that mater, so could a monkey. Or an elephant with its tail. 
any act  became artistic when an audience is engaged: To witness (as in been present -in its presence- and because of it been ablee to atestiguate of it)

A much intriguing pondering for me  is to wonder When is Art been created? and by Whom?.  Where?
Is it on the Mind of the artist or in the audience's. Or in the Mind of the Piece itself (been such thing possible)?
I fully believe that any kind of act of creation (artistic ond/or creative)
needs of an audience and of a art piece  and an of its creator.  All 3 simultaneously interacting in this dynamic and mystical dance that produces art.

At night the museum truly is a big empty container of shadows and echoes,
devoid of its artistic value by virtue of the absence of the audience to channel it forth ward.

the doble door thingy still eludes me...

u, CR3A TV T & i

i have always believe that (deliberately) Studio Artist got an f factor build into it!
This is very obvious the very first time you open the program.
The frustration factor, as i call it, was done, i am certain, as a means to generate or provoke,
the flow of juices, and the steam that makes the broth of the act of creation.
This software seduces. At first sight.
The ac and dc, that seeps all throughout the application, is what makes it work.
That is, its artificial creativity (its emulators) and its digital cognitivity (its simulators).
Where this is most obvious to me, is in the 'paintsynth' suite, and, even more so, in the 'Warp' suite.
It truly feels like it came from out space. But don't worry, you'll survive.
How does it achieves this feat?
By virtue of its overwhelming amount of Suits and Operations, Nibs and Brushes, Alternatives and choices.
And by virtue of its hyper(or not! so) sensitive sliders. And its amount of controllers and transfers.
it's forest of drop down cryptic menus and obscure commands, and its constellations of presets and randomizers!!
All of this, even today, forced me to engage Studio Artist,
like i did when learning to paint with acrylics.
With blood, sweat and tears. (and a few pens, mice and tablets, gee thanks SA).
The first time Studio Artist was awoken, without any kind of warning, the sleeping giant started to wrestle.
And i fell absolutely in love. Instantly.
I knew then and there, that if i resisted, Studio Artist would never surrenders it's wonderful and generous morsels.
Even so, as devoted as i am, and to my dismay, out of the blue, for no apparent reason, the fight is back,
This dysfunctional relationship has propelled me into lab-ver-inths of oblivions, of carpal curses and prayers.
Conception: There, alone and vulnerable, i do. Passionally.
Skies and Birds, of Watery Shapes and Fiery Colors.
So the Airy Voices of Yes3'rday, can tale the Tales that are the Keys, to the Earthy Shapes of Tomorrow. 
Finally, sticky and smelly, i open my eyes to close the vast space of that image,
that you must dream of now. And inhabit: Inception.

And so, freed from this w(e)ai(gh)t, i take a much necessary shower!

que manera de quererse, que manera.

All of is what opens Studio Artist, to the wonders of synchronicity and happy accidents.
Studio Artist is as Pandora, a moon of a much larger planet.

So then, what is creativity?
someone said once, creativity concern itself with the future. I like that.
what ever you do, it will resides (u and my did) on 2morrow.
And the given done, in an illusion, that some call talent,
that moves, like theoretically impossible universes, ever away, to never memory.
At film school the teacher used to say:
-a filmmaker makes always the same movie, again and again,
it just moves the tripod a little bit over, so to make it look a little bit different-.
e.g., delToro's or Kubrick's films. Or as any painter, musician, dancer, actor out there, also do.
SO, creativity is also an obsessive-compulsive ill Lumina.


hat is been used for healing and hurting, the soul and the body and the spirit, since for ever.

I believe that, in order to create, one must surrender to oneself. Completely.
And come back to here, to now, and plant and grow ones world in this grain of soil.
In accepting and forgiving, and, even knowing that most of it will later come back to re-conquer,
in the letting go of everything, are the seeds, that will depart with the final touch of the painting,
with the last note of the song, to where the deep ocean of the sky, is fill with those igneous hummingbirds,
that danced, all throughout, that proverbial darkest night.
Taking the fragrance of my voice, to U. Tomorrow.

To me creativity is,
first an foremost, Understanding.
Second of all, Meaning.
and lust but no list, Context.
The Stand Under, the oceanic sky, filled with those shimmering birds,
making sense of it all.
The In Focus now, moves this yesterday forward, and too me today.
The Text cons reality into leaving my Frame of Mind.

The Three Vertical Principles.

On the Two horizontal Directions. On the tracks that guides me, too I.

The cage, so to gladly, live or die.
the only One and only constant, The Mind,
that lives in Me, in You, and in the Creation.

All of this together,
makes up the form that described this crystalline structure,
and the continent kaleidoscope.
That spins and spins,
reflecting and illuminating, fragmenting and multiplying
As this intricate mantra,
is so hard trying.

So, what is creativity? i, i am, you, you are,
Means are the Meanings.
totally and absolutely in its unjustified eternity (here, present, now)

So then, Studio Artist NEEDS ME, to be creative.
i.e. in order to dream of 2omorrow i have to be the 1, in it's presence. present.


u, CR3A TV T & i
(The Title)
-the whole word 'Creativity' was done like that in an attempt to emulate the concept of 'Creativity'.
-U, obviously the word'You'. But also is the symbol that represent the universe (the actual creator)
contemplating itself(creating).
-'TV' is 'Television', because of my profession, hence the 'I' at the end ;)
- Three red highlighted letters randomly spell'Art'.
-The number '3' is the letter 'E' because i thought that creativity implies
the combining of different and unrelated Elements, as whit symbols, with letters with, and with numbers.
-Also because of my three bricks that builds this concept,
the three principles, the two directions, and the one constant.
-Then 3 is the quintessence of my art.

And You present:Audience.
in short,
'Be-cause of you, I DO
Yes, yes. I know.
I owed you guys,
As the artist did confided to the painting and the painting to the artist,
so the art will revealed to the audience and the audience to the art.

At the empty museum, Art and audience, dissipates. 
The artist, just shadows and frozen echoes.
In the nigth, colors dissolve into obscurity.

Have i managed to define 'Creativity'?
Probably not, but a vague impression i know i have been able to .
Why? because in using words (worse, only words),
the very limitations build in any language
confabulate for the eternal


I must be the exception. I'm brand new to Studio Artist, but I don't find it frustrating at all. I find it liberating on some levels, especially initially, when one doesn't know how it works yet. But as you discover its functions and structure, it is very straightforward, and allows great flexibility and control over image making, while providing a wide array of visual inspiration and ideas. It's not like other graphics programs that I've used, because its focus is on the creative part, not so much the technical part. We can get as technical as we want with SA, but its "feel" comes from the other side of the brain.


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