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Creative Block: or Quality v Quantity

Having been suffering from something of a creative dry spell - which is a pretty frustrating thing - it's good to be able to finally see something positive in a period of 'writer's-block' style inability to set-to and draw.

A lack of inspiration (and worse a sense that doing what comes naturally to youl is an unpleasant chore) is a pretty frustarting thing, but over the past month it has helped clarify a few issues for me and made sense of a few lines of thought I have had for a while.

Creativity, I now feel, is closer to a 'calling' than a career: or more accurately it is something one does because it is part of ones personality type. It is an impulse, and whichever branch of the arts, crafts or design you have been drawn to I'm sure you can identify with this 'need' to produce work and the 'rush' of inspiration.

I will never stop drawing. I've always done it, and though I may have off-periods - some quite long - I will always be producing 'art' in some form or other.

To put it another way (and I'm sure I'm teaching people to suck-eggs here) creativity is certainly not a 'job' in the traditional sense - or at least the more creativity is forced into hard monotonous work, the more it becomes dulled and watered-down. Mass production for profit does not make master pieces!

That's not to say that there's no place for hard work, nor long boring sessions to push a big project to completian, but I strongly feel that the more creative output is shaped by meeting a consumer need - the more art becomes a mass-market product - the less value it has.

Perhaps it's a symptom of a society ruled by both consumerism and celebrity, but through my dry spell I've come to realize how I've been on the verge of jumping on the band-wagon of seeking some form of recognition/validation through my work, rather than producing art just for the love of it, because it's what I do. Obviously, one has to make a living, but as I think back through the history of the artists and heroes I most admire, it is those understated people who's work, inventions and ideas speak for themselves who demonstarte true genius.

The current zeitgeist is for celebrity; hyping a brand; creating quirky and memorable stunts to attract a following; producing a quick idea to generate money and popularity. Here today - gone tomorrow.

In my imagination at least, the good-old-days was populated by unsung heroes who created something of unique value, made to last, and made to inspire, which - over time - created a following or a market or even celebrity - yet courting popularity or making a fortune was never the intended purpose.

It's the lure of style over substance, perhaps, or the need for the quick-fix, but like the Cathedral builders of Medieval Europe (of whom we know only a handful by name), producing some of the most beautiful technical innovations of all time, I'd rather my work did the talking, not my brand or my notoriety.

So I'll embrace the dry patch. I'll sit out the writer's block (or it's drawing equivelent). I'll doodle around and do what I can until inspiration breaks down the damn again, but I won't try to force it. I'll see it as what it is - a gift. Something given to me which I've always had (and admittedly honed over the years), but I won't treat it as a product.

I'll strive to make everything I do my best, and hopefully, like those great Medieval Cathedrals, the results will speak for themselves



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