Why do we make art? Why do we write, or dance, or sing, or generally pursue creating something from nothing? How do these drives propel or hinder our ability to think creatively?
In a 2011 interview, New York artist Chrissy Angliker explains one reason she paints is to make sense of the world:
“Making art helps me process the world around me. My surroundings are my inspiration. They are constantly changing, therefore my relationship to them always changes and I have endless inspiration that I’m working with. I use making art as a tool to make sense of it all.”
Creation as a means of exploring and understanding the world around us is a common theme for many artists, writers and inventors.
In 1946, writer George Orwell shared that putting pieces together and seeing things more clearly was one of four reasons we pursue creativity.
“To see things as they are,” Orwell wrote, “to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.”
In your everyday life you may find yourself driven to make sense of the world around you through means you don’t immediately relate to creation. Journaling, talking openly with someone, meditation, mentoring others, are all good ways to make sense of the world. These acts also serve a powerful purpose for unlocking creativity, as they give us the perspective from which we build our ideas.
When we seek to understand, and do so in a way that creates some byproduct as a result, we’re taking a step towards creativity by connecting the why with the what.
It’s when we acknowledge this connection that we begin to not only see what’s there in front of us, but also what could be.