Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thinking in pictures, sounds and words

There are people who think almost solely in pictures, people who think solely in sound and people who think almost solely in words. None of these processes particularly inhibit the imagination but they do impact upon and limit what can be created from it through interpretation and translation.

Most of us though, think in a mix of them all, with one or two more in focus than the others. This results in us tending towards certain forms of creative expression over others. And our chosen form of expression can rarely be shifted once we discover it, no matter what others have to say. So how should we chose a creative path to begin with? How are you more likely to chose the right path from the outset?

All forms of art often require a person to not only think in pictures but interpret the kinetic into the stationary. Many artists find interpreting the kinetic into the stationary an issue and so stick to what was stationary enough to begin with in order to be able to represent the subject as they wish, which may or may not include a high degree of accuracy. Then there are those who would like to be artists but cannot shift their focus from either seeing the whole picture to seeing the parts or vice versa. Art requires you to not only think in pictures but to dissemble and reassemble the subject matter in a method of your choosing, to analyse the parts in order to create the whole and to absorb the whole in order to see the significance of each part. Art is a practice that relies on the eyes and hands, on perception of form and function and flow, and is best created by those who think mostly in pictures while creating it. The person who stares, dazzled, at the sky or the sea or the flock of birds and has no words to say about it is likely one capable of recreating the sights through art given the chance to practice the techniques artists use.

Music comes from the minds of those focused on sound, movement and words but mostly on sound. Musicians can become artists or writers with a degree of ease due to the overlap of vision and interpreting methods but because of their intense focus upon sound visual arts can be quite difficult at times. If you are interested in sound above all else and have a song forming in your mind it would be quite hard to represent it satisfactorily in clay or paint or wood. To a person focused on sound above all other things the music world is beyond enticing, instead being downright absorbing and inescapable. Surrounded by such beauty and thoughtfulness for the ears and mind, with sounds that elicit all sorts of emotional reactions, how could a person focused on sound turn away from it all and constantly create soundless art or writing? It just shouldn't be and, more often than not, cannot be.

Science and maths are interesting to look at with regards to thought processes and sources of creativity. There is a high degree of focus on functionality required, on parts becoming whole and vice versa, on the desired or projected end solution and what would be required to create it. To be creative in science it would likely require a person to be able to think in pictures as well as words and numbers. In math, a high focus on words and numbers (or words as numbers and numbers as words) is required and even the ability to see the flow or translate numbers to pictures. But above all, in science and maths a sense of play has to exist. A knowledge that what seems inflexible can possibly be bent or broken, a knowledge of how things work together, build upon each other and click in place and a desire to tinker with it all. The desire to meddle with the world and discover what it is all about is where the creativity stems from in science and maths.

Writing is also interesting to look at because it requires an intense focus upon two types of thinking in equal measure. Or, at the very least, a strong ability to interpret one as the other. Writing requires a person to think in pictures and in words at the same time. It requires a writers to imagine complete scenes, worlds, events, people, to make them real as though you were staring up at that sky. The writer needs to build a world up from scratch and navigate about it freely only to then break it all down and assign words to each part and then not only write those words but make them coherent and enticing enough to a reader that the reader can then, according to their own though processes, rebuild the world in their own mind. Writing is creation and destruction, recreation and transference in one. It relies on multiple interpretations of a singular vision forever broken down into its parts. At no point in the reading or writing process is the whole creation exposed in full, not even with the ending. It requires an ability to interpret flow as well so there is in a writer just a touch of a strong understanding of the kinetic too.

So when choosing your path of creativity it is probably a good idea to match it with how you typically think. The skilled interpretation of words, pictures, sound and movement all play a part in our understanding of the world and our ability to express ourselves so it will impact upon your skill in any particular creative field. Choosing the creative field that best matches how your view and interpret the world is the best way to start. From there it is practice, practice, practice.

But this mix of focused thought processes and practice is in essence where that talent and skill come from that you so admire in others. Talent is the initial aptitude that comes from a good match in thinking to a creative style while practice is how the skill is built up. No one beginning starting out as an artist knows how to create brass sculptures but they do likely know how to paint or draw with some capability. Even in painting and drawing though, the arts most children start out with, there is a incredibly huge gap between the skilled artist and the initially talented child. And all that is required to leap that gap is much practice and careful consideration.

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