Creative Concept Development – Journal 3, 09.13.16

Assigned Readings

Explaining Creativity by R. Keith Sawyer

Explaining Creativity, Keith Sawyer’s Webpage on the Text


Summary of the Readings

Link to Notes on Reading


Response to the Readings

I think I lean towards the idea of creativity as a rational process. I don’t feel the kind of powerful, quasi-spiritual creative power that I hear other artist s refer to. I am not sure I even feel very much creative inspiration. Most of the time creativity is an active choice on my part. Last week’s Pecha Kucha presentation is a good example.

I documented my creative process..

I know I did not have to do this, but the organization of the process was part of the process. I started with a goal. Then I identified lots of possible solutions. I weighed the advantages and disadvantages. Then picked one and implemented it.

On the other hand…

I do get occasional surges of inspiration. I tend to think of them as distractions. They rarely become anything important.

This happened when writing the first essay or my class with Nate Aldrich, The Interactivity Paradigm. My first essay was terrible. I had to rewrite it. It was terrible because it did not do what it was supposed to do and it lacked any qualities of good writing structure. The reason it sucked so much is because I got distracted by a creative image that rushed into my head and would not let go.

I decided to rewrite the essay because I felt I needed to understand better. I started by analyzing the image that stuck in my head during the first essay. I found that the image actually had a lot of interesting content that was relevant to what I wanted to accomplish. I just missed it because the image itself distracted me. The second essay that I wrote after analysis was much better.

Maybe those surges of inspiration need to be combined with rationality. Maybe I need to embrace them more.

The Sylvia Plath quote had an impact on me because I agree with her. When my mind is unsettled and unstable I am too busy dealing with it to be able to produce anything. When I decided to do this program, I took a number of proactive steps to ensure that my mental and physical health remain as good and stable as possible.

Class Overview


No single understanding of what it is

Instead where it is


We validate creativity or emotion or whatever. We feel it. Therefore the thing we feel it about is validated

Ex. Artificial intelligence, emotions

We feel natural interacting with the AI therefore it doesn’t matter if the AI is actually feeling or not.


Is art something that comes out of creative acts

When does something become art? Owen says “When someone says it is art” It is all about designation. Designation is choice but this is intentional choice. I have designated it.

Creativity is the science of human innovation


Creative Possibilities

Highly complex origami on abstract painted paper

kinetic sculpture binding together origami with abstract painting, possible audio components


Creative Response

(p. 95) Thought Experiments.

Is your personality similar to one or both of your parents?

Yes. What is interesting, is that I had no exposure to my biological father. I didn’t meet him until adulthood. I am told I still have many similar personality traits.

My mother and I have some similar traits but many that are very different. Seems typical to me.

Is your level of creativity the same as your parents?

It seems to be somewhat higher.

According to your parents did you show a special creative talent very early in childhood? Do you think you were born with that talent?

Yes. My mother says I started making things up at a very young age. I am not so sure I was born creative, but I guess I was born with certain innate tools that allowed me to be creative. Then the environment shaped the rest.

Did your parents do anything while you were growing up to encourage your creative abilities?

Yes. I took art lessons when I asked to. We read a lot.

If your parents hadn’t done those things would you still be creative now?


Or, if they had done more would you be more creative now?

Yes. I think if I had a little more discipline and structure I would have been more creative because I would have been more dedicated at a younger age and thus had greater time to develop creativity.


Origami & Abstract

The Stuff Shelf, Also Known As the Shelf of Stuff
The Stuff Shelf, Also Known As the Shelf of Stuff

I was thinking about what to do for a creative response. I wanted to show the marriage of rationality and inspiration within creative thought. My first idea was to create a complex origami out of abstract print. The problem is, it takes many many hours to fold complex origami. There can be thousands of folds. I am afraid that one has to go into the category of “creative possibilities” rather than “creative response.”

Origami is a highly rational process. You must follow the rules. It does not leave very much room for improvisation. Even if you are skilled enough to create your own models, they still follow the basic rules of geometry. One way or another, you will be working with straight lines. Wet origami allows you to give the appearance of soft curves, but ultimately it is only a combination of many straight lines. Trying to get around the system is likely to result in the famous “origami rock” aka. a wadded up ball of paper. Origami also requires planning, patience and consistent follow-through. I have been doing it for twenty years and I still have not mastered it. There is a particular model that I have been trying to master for a few years now. Sometimes I manage to complete it and sometimes I don’t. It requires over a thousand folds. If you make a mistake early on, you are doomed. You just don’t figure it out for another couple of hundred folds. It is all about carefully stepping your way through the process.

The abstract art represents inspiration. Inspiration seems to me, to be a very different thing. Inspiration is what comes when you don’t have a goal. It is the random confluence of thoughts, ideas and skills. It can come at any time. It can be helpful or distracting. Unlike origami, it has no reliable rules or set endpoint. It is a spontaneous act within the creative process.

The arrangement of the photograph occurred organically. I have a shelf full of stuff. I took it down and spread it out around me. I started going through the boxes and arranging and rearranging things into a pleasing order. I eventually ended with the photograph below.


Origami & Abstract as a Creative Response to the duality of Rationality and Inspiration.
Origami & Abstract as a Creative Response to the duality of Rationality and Inspiration.



Ted Talk on the Creative Process from the point of view of four artists