The truth is, the definition of what it means to be “creative” seems to be painfully subjective. Add in the comparison to art, and what it means to be “artistic” and you’ve just set yourself up for a long winded conversation that appears to have no end.
This is precisely what happened to me a few weeks ago.
I was sitting sharing a bottle of red wine talking about the differences between creativity and art. Are they same? How are they different? Can you be creative, and an artist? Can an artist also be creative? Where does one draw the line?
In all honesty, the conversation seemed to be nothing more than a bantering over semantics. Creatives have their moments of artistry, and artists could be equally talented problem-solvers. But something about the discussion left me thinking, reading, researching, and reflecting hard on the topic. Much more than I had anticipated.
By definition, artistry and artistic ability is the cultivation of skills and talents honed toward creating fine works of art: painting, drawing, sculpting, musical composition, etc. In short: art is an original creation with the intention of sparking an emotion or response in the viewer, listener, etc.
Conversely, creativity and creative ability is defined as the skill of pooling together different elements to find a solution to a problem. A perfect example would be advertising: creative thinking and originality geared toward delivering a business result.
Knowing this, imagine how difficult it is then for a company looking to be “more creative.” What does that even mean? And more importantly, how are they measuring success?
The overlap is that both artistry and creativity require some level of emotional intelligence. In both cases, you are working to capture a message or meaning and communicate it purposefully. The difference, it seems, is in that message’s destination. If it is aimed outwardly at an intended audience, one might classify it as “creative.” If the message is aimed inwardly, and acts first as a mirror for the creator, sparking self-reflection, it leans more toward the realm of art.
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