In defence of art and creativity

I have raided my new charcoal supply and hit the pages with some master copies. Loved every minute of it too. Each of the following were sourced from ‘Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters’ by Robert Beverly Hale. I really want to try the third one again because it doesn’t even remotely resemble the original.

Copy of Peter Paul Reubens, Studies of Arms and Legs

Copy of Peter Paul Reubens, Studies of Arms and Legs

Copy of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Head in profile

Copy of Michelangelo Buonarroti, Head in profile

Copy of Andrea del Sarto, Head of an Apostle

Copy of Andrea del Sarto, Head of an Apostle

Convincing someone that a jumbled mass of musical notes written on a treble and bass clef could be conceived as music would be a little more difficult than say splashing some paint on a canvas and calling it art. Similarly, unsupported statements in a book would hardly be considered an educational textbook for school use however in a different world, a blank canvas can be claimed as ‘Art’.

It seems the confines of what constitutes art is infinite compared to the confines of what makes music or poetry or illustration. Is there art, one that is just as effective at delivering a message by using relevant rules as other platforms in storytelling such as music, scriptwriting and theatre for example, and then, is there a type of art that expresses without boundaries and may even break the rules in the process? Is there a difference between the two?

Well my attempt at answering this question starts with words that have been drummed into my head by my mum that go exactly like this, ‘you need to know the rules before you can break them’. A message can be effectively communicated even while breaking the rules however if the message were successfully communicated, chances are the rules were known and understood first. So it seems the difference is not so much between the two types of art but between knowing and not knowing the rules.

With all this talk about rules, is art disciplined or undisciplined then? Let us not confuse undisciplined with uninhibited. Does it not take more discipline to choose from endless desserts on offer than choosing between only two?

Some see uninhibited as undisciplined, dangerous, unguided and without boundaries and somehow assume those are the same qualities inherent in the artist and not just their art.

Well let me tell that person this ….. it’s called creativity.

Consider the following by Robert Harris found at

“The constant emphasis we see in society is toward the ruthlessly practical and conformist. Even the wild fashions, from those in Vogue to punk rock, are narrowly defined, and to deviate from them is considered wrong or ridiculous. Some peoples’ herd instinct is so strong that they make sheep look like radical individualists”.

Here here,

So …. to you, the brave, you, who are brave…. anyone who takes up art or other creative endeavor for whatever purpose should be envied, as they are not only courageous and daring but are practicing discipline and creativity in an uninhibited arena and that’s a scary thing to do.


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