Who would have thought creativity has theories??? I never put much thought into where my creativity stem from however, having read some of the theories – I would have to say psychoanalytic theory (from Freud, Kris, Kubie and Rugg) does not fit my profile.

My creativity theory would derived from behavioristic and learning. I agree with some of Burrhus F. Skinner’s theory except for his statement that “there is no such thing as creativity or freedom”. (Davis, 2004, p. ) Before attacking that statement, I’d like to point out the things I do agree with.

  • Our behavior is controlled by authoritative figures – parents, teachers, family (if not from our parents, where do we learn how to behave?)
  • We learn from our environment and;
  • We learn through trial and error.

I believe strongly that our upbringing in a sound environment has a lot to do with defining who we are. Our behavior is taught. We look up to people we trust for guidance to teach us right from wrong.

I guess when Skinner talks about “no freedom in creativity” because of authoritative figures – that’s because when you live under your parents’ roof for at least 18 years of your life and some are prolonging the moving out – you abide by their rules and you do get stifled and lose your creative mojo. As get older and hopefully wiser, you form your own opinion, breaking out of that mold when you eventually move out and be free to be your own creative individual. Don’t talk to Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer  about individuality because they have a different take on that topic altogether!

Trial and error is part of our learning process –  that’s how you develop yourself, discover your likes and dislikes and form your own opinions, problem solve. How else do learn if not from mistakes made. Sometimes more than once of the same repeated offense. A few springs to mind – the over indulgent of alcohol and speeding.

He then points out that creativity is in our genes which I don’t entirely agree on. I believe creativity stems from knowledge past down, like behavior – taught. Take sportsmen, actors, chefs, musicians, if the child is exposed to that particular environment, they’ve got a head start by learning to perform that task from the knowledge provided and through their own trial and error, will develop their own style although genetics is an added bonus but plays a small part in the grand scheme. An uncool example that pops into mind would be Jaden Smith, son of Will and Jada Pinkett who starred in 2010 Karate Kid remake and debut with his dad in Pursuit of Happyness. (2006)

My take on the theory is we have to learn from history, past traditions and influences to be able to understand ourselves so we can be free and true to create. If we look around, we are surrounded by things that are are rehash. My favourite word – patische as quoted in Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture as “a style of plagiarizing,  quoting, and borrowing from previous styles with no reference to history or a sense of rules. In architecture, a patische would be mixing of classical motifs with modern elements in an aesthetic that does not reference the historical meanings of those styles.” (Sturken & Cartwright, 2001, p. 361) Fashion and Interiors is a prime example but this rehash is still a form of creativity because there are new embellishments added for difference.

1970s Interior Design

Modern day revamp of retro theme



70’s Interior design scans. [2009]. Available from http://www.xmere.com/forums/uploads/IDOTD_images/goldden.jpg

Alper, D., Black, T., Blumenthal, J., Clayman, M., D’Esposito, L., Gardner, C., Lassiter, J., Smith, W., Tisch, S,. &  Zee, T. (Producers), & Muccino, G. (Director). (2006). Pursuit of Happyness [Motion Picture]. United States: Columbia Tristar.

Davis, G. A. (2004). Definitions and Theories.  Creativity is forever (p. 58-73). (5th Ed.). USA: Kendell/Hunt.

Ekins, S., Han, S., Lassiter, J., Lee, C.  H., Liu, E., Smith, J. P., Smith, W., So, S., Stovitz, K., Weintraub, J., & Wolf, D. (Producers), & Zwart, H. (Director). (2010). The Karate Kid [Motion picture]. United States: Columbia Pictures.

Retro Room: Luxe Interior. [2007]. Available from http://modculture.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/07/30/orla_k_cclassic_livinglow1.jpg

Sturken, M. & Cartwright, L. (2001). Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.

Toke Cartoons and Comics. [n.d.]. Available from http://www.cartoonstock.com/lowres/rst0029l.jpg