The Creative Impulse

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March 11, 2013 by petrujviljoen

Judith Mason - Nude 1978, Oil on Board, 120 x 92cm

Judith Mason – Nude – 1978

Oil on Board – 120 x 90cm

The Creative Impulse

Visual artists, musicians, performance artists, authors …

Can any one who practices her or his discipline, or chosen field of creativity, pinpoint a moment in their lives when they knew – This is IT! I want to, need to, do this for the rest of my life? For some there was such a moment. For others it may have come gradually.

That It is an inner calling, seems certain. An inner need to create. Where does this need, this talent, come from? Many artists are born of parents that are or were not creative. So it is not necessarily hereditary. To say it is divinely instilled may be a problem for agnostics or atheists. I wonder if it is apt to call it the Ugly Duckling Syndrome?

Käthe Kollwitz‘s parents were a housebuilder and a housewife, respectively. Doris Lessing‘s father was a clerk in a bank and her mother was a nurse. Ethel Smyth the English composer had to convince her father to allow her to study music. Greta Garbo was born from a factory worker (her mother) while her father was a labourer. Ordinary people that did astonishing things. All became something else than what was prescribed by their circumstances at the time of their growing up.

You will have noticed that I quoted women only. Well, why not? ”I write what I like” said Steve Biko.

The processes and life cycles that artists go through is worthy of research. None had it easy. They had to fight their circumstances to do what that they did. There are too many that succumbed to pressures from society. The one I always hear: ”… but there’s no money in art!” Well, there are two sides to this: first: it may not be the point. Second: it remains one’s right to earn from it, should luck and hard work pay off.

Artmaking is an intensely personal journey. It requires a strong personality to stay on course. A belief in oneself in the face of the facts and the odds and the setbacks and the pressures. It is a journey of discovery. It is a journey that changes one irrevocably. It is a journey forever travelling into the unknown. The unknown within and the larger (larger?) world without.


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