Bizarre title, right?
I’m halfway through reading a book called The Art Of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins. (St. Martins College of Art) Judkins hasn’t so much taught me anything through his clarity of thoughts, but instead has made me realise my make-up if you will. Creativity isn’t a switch that can be flicked on when you arrive into the studio or grab a pen to write, just in the same way it can be turned off when relaxing in the bath or climbing into bed. The very crux of creativity is a way of seeing, engaging with and responding to the world around you. Judkins suggests that creatives are creative when ‘filing documents, cooking, arranging timetables or doing housework.’
We are all guilty of compartmentalising Creativity for as and when it is needed in our daily lives. It’s exhausting to be alert and responsive all of the time. I dedicate set time to be creative amidst applying for jobs and working, a routine that’s an unhealthy one. Why? Because I feel most alive when I’m doing something I feel that is worthwhile… and that’s usually creating something.
You may ask, what does Chupa Chups have to do with all this?
This is where Salvador Dali comes in. Judkins uses him as a perfect example of a ‘switched-on’ creative. Dali too felt alive with things that he felt were important – devoting his time and energy to a range of projects.
On January 20, 1952, Salvador Dali appeared on American Game Show Whats’ My Line? , in which a panel of four blindfolded celebrity panellists guess the identity of a mystery guest by asking questions that have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Taking almost nine minutes to reveal his identity, the guests become more and more exasperated as Dali answers yes when asked if he was a writer, a leading man, a performer, a sportsman etc. One of the ladies laughs and exclaims ‘There’s nothing this man doesn’t do!’
And that’s exactly the lesson that should be learned here. Throughout his life Dali was a film-maker, a jewellery maker, an architect, a designer, a writer as well as a painter. He needed a house, so he made one – who knows your taste better than yourself? He created a person – Dali’s Frankenstein – Amanda Lear. Dali renamed her, made her over and constructed stories about her. His creativity wasn’t under a time constraint, it ran through him. Dali designed the logo for the Chupa Chups lollipop. Already having a name for himself as a famous surrealist artist and a place amongst treasured Artists in the Canon of Art History, it wasn’t necessary for him to design for confectionery. He was open-minded and it to him it mattered, so he did it. Not everything he turned his hand to was successful, and some endeavours are more celebrated than others, but what matters is the willingness to try. Dali didn’t attempt to turn the creative ‘switch’ on and off. Instead, he embraced it and is Internationally respected as a result. His creativity went far beyond his surrealist Paintings that he is most renowned for, and when you delve a little deeper you can discover a man that breathed creativity, not confined it.
His attitude is something we can all learn a little from.
Judkins, Rod, The Art of Creative Thinking, Sceptre Books, 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXT2E9Ccc8A – Salvador Dali appearing on ‘Whats My Line’