Study, Influence and the Individual.

Fear, Isolation and Theft.

Or: The Creativity Diagram in rough.

So I've got this thing I've been working on the last week or so.

Simply put, it's a diagram which to me, explains how to interact with the environment of creativity:

That may confusing without any description. Here's a loose premise of intention from the essay I've been working on:

It should be understood that these categories can’t reliably be divided into universal percentages, they don't exist as a timeline for art-making or as a theorem for guaranteed success. They are an ecosystem in which an artist can begin to build a home: they can be a desert or a jungle or the mountains of Mars. There is no perfect balance, it should be considered an active relationship to the environment of creativity. It may have weather, it may have seasons.

It is a guide to making soil which will be ready for whatever seed is given to you. That’s why the center of the diagram says “your best work” because the measure of your success isn't a perfect civil-war-grey or the naysayers eating crow or the legions of fans or how much money you sell things for, or even if you will be remembered after you are dead.

It’s only you and your expectations, as defined by your influences and by the triumphs of your study.

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The idea itself is not entirely revolutionary. I've found a few diagrams and workflow charts that overlay somewhat with what I've built here. And to me, that's an indicator that I'm on the right track.

I'm sending this to you all in it's rough stage, because I'm looking for feedback on the premise so far. 

The essay I've been writing can be found here. I'd love it if you gave it a read and sent me your thoughts on what works or what doesn't. Ideally I'd like to turn this into a presentation, so any feedback would be useful to me, especially non-visual artists and people who don't make art. I'd really like to know if this resonates across mediums and with people who don't sit inside their heads all day becoming possessed by categorizing dumb stuff like I do.

To entice you, here is an interesting bit of research from the essay, in the section regarding Fear, about how the premise of talent is causing a sort of creative crib-death:

...The fear I’m talking about here has more to do with young artists and non-artists. More accurately, this fear is the thing that stops 90% of the population from becoming ANY kind of artist, even a hobbyist. And this fear grows in a particular kind of manure: The premise of talent.

The concept of talent is dangerous. It creates a barrier between us, and we use it like an axe to sever people from their universal desire to express themselves.

The word Talent comes from the Ancient Greek. It was originally a unit of measurement for precious metals. To be specific, it was roughly the weight of water in a full amphora. And a talent of silver in Greece could pay for 9 years of skilled labor.

The word starts to become linked with something more ethereal in the Bible, when Jesus tells The Parable of the Talents: The story of a master leaving his home to travel and upon his leaving decides to make three slaves into stewards in his absence. One servant receives five talents, the second servant receives two talents, and the third servant receives one talent and he asks them all to care for them while he’s gone.

Upon his return he asks them what has become of their talents. Two of the servants report that they invested their talents and doubled their return, but the third admitted that he buried his talent, thinking it would be smarter to keep it safe. And he was punished:

“Therefore take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten. For the one who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough. But the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless slave into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’"

The fear of investing his talent and disappointing his master made the third slave hold tighter to the little he had. He might have envied the success of the other two slaves, thinking he didn't have the skill to be like them, or the luck, or maybe the gift from his master of five talents instead of just one.

That’s where this separation between us grows. And maybe some of the supposedly talented people feel guilty. They are now set out as different. Luckier than the rest. Chosen without having a choice.

Maybe that darkness, the weeping and gnashing of teeth that the poor third slave was tossed into for the crime of playing it safe, is exactly what many of us are trying to describe in our work. The tortured artist needs the talentless, and the world sure loves their tortured artists.

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Thanks to you all for considering taking a look at this thing. Again the link is here and all thoughts are appreciated.

As always there is an archive for this newsletter at: nealvonflue.com/newsletter/newsletter-archive/ and I look forward to your thoughts on any of them.