People often split creativity between the arts and sciences, placing painters, writers, composers, dancers and actors on one side, and biologist, chemists, mathematicians, psychologist and physicists on the other. There is another dichotomy apparent to anyone attempting innovation–the split of designing and performing.
It is easier to see this split in the arts; the visual artist, composer, and writer are obviously designing works of art that they construct. The actor, musician, dancers are all performing, right? But there is an overlap. Conceptual visual artists will imagine original ideas, but the resulting tangible piece may not strike people as a great work of art. It is the explanation of the idea–the performance–that carries the conceptual artist into the creative limelight. I recall seeing one create portraits on a floor covered with wax paper by pouring chocolate syrup. Watching him in the act of creating was the intriguing part.
This also occurs in the sciences. Notable theorist, such as Albert Einstein, are known for their explanations of theories–abstract ideas that are not really observed or proven through experiments. They promote the theory through a series of logical arguments, and the ability to present is as important as the ability to produce proof or construct a sophisticated invention. Others through constant experimentation (or sometimes accidents as in the case of Louis Pasteur’s anthrax vaccine) produce new practical inventions.
Creative people often work on both sides of the split. Directors and actors who also write, musicians who play an instrument and compose. Inventors who initiate original ideas or who through their persistence and ability to gain backing produce another’s novel invention. Artist and scientists piggyback on the past to the point that it is difficult to determine who originated the “original” idea for which one person receives the credit.
After all “there is nothing new under the sun.”
Photos By K.N. Listman