You would be in very safe territory to assume that I’ve never, ever, written anything having to do with sports – until today. My inspiration … Chris Borland, who at age 24, after one season playing professional football for the San Francisco 49ers, retired due to concerns about his long term health. It’s “not worth the risk.” he said in reference to the the substantial chances of permanent brain injury and disease faced by professional football players.
So what does any of this have to do with art or creativity?
It took me several years to hone my one line artist’s statement and I believe it to my core:
“Art is there to remind us that we can think for ourselves.”
It takes a load of courage to be creative.It can be mighty tough, sometimes intolerable to absorb ridicule or even anticipated ridicule from peers and superiors. But creativity requires courage, often a great deal of courage. If creative ideas are to truly be creative, new and different, someone has to have the nerve to venture out and take a chance, stick their neck out and be willing to take the heat if need be. It’s a lot easier said than done and it’s the path artists (and creative thinkers in any domain) face when exploring new, often unpopular and uncharted territory.
A couple of paragraphs from my book, “The Art of Mistakes” speak directly to this point:
Creative thinkers, whether they be artists or not, are willing to fight conformity – and – are willing to take on the continuing need to re-evaluate what defines conformism. They don’t need a degree in anything from anywhere to do that – they just have to believe in their gut that it’s what they must do.
In the most fundamental sense, the role of the creative person/artist is to question the status quo with their creative output. This might be the work of a visual artist, a musician, an actor, a writer … OR … it could just as easily be a chef who finds a new way to make grilled cheese or a surgeon who develops a new approach to a procedure.
In this case, Olympian sized laurels for creative thinking belong proudly on the healthy head, of this stunningly brave man.
by Melanie Rothschild
author of The Art of Mistakes
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