Maria-Thérèse Sommar, fotograf, frilansskribent och författare.
Ej körkortsfoto! Ej fotostudio.
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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Creativity in children vs adults

Why is it that creativity seems to be expressed so naturally by children, but when you're an adult it's considered unnecessary and something you need to be good at in order to do?

To many children, drawing, painting, sculpting and inventing things is just something you do, and then you stop. Is there a magical age when the Demands of Life become so Huge you need to stop doing everything that's fun? Is there simply not enough time? Do you suddenly become as self-conscious as if the Top Model jury were constantly sitting in front of you?

I have not worked with small children or explored why they're often given a box of crayons when they start school, but surely there is some reason. A reason which is no longer there after a few years. Why? Wouldn't emo 7th-graders almost, kind of smile if you gave them a rainbow box of crayons to illustrate their assignments with? Wouldn't it be cool to get colored markers when you start a new job or something more than the odd flourescent highlighter?

But no, when you're no longer a child everything has to be grey. No more rainbow stuff for you. Play is for children, unless you run around stabbing people in computer games.

I actually don't think creativity goes away. It lies dormant and waits for you to dare to use it again.

Hold on, you say, there are plenty of adults who have hobbies. They're just creative in different ways.



And that's all good, but I have a problem with the whole "hobby" thing. A hobby is an activity you do for fun, for a brief period of time, and it's easy to stuff away because it's not your Real Job. A hobby is something small and unthreatening, something you may be secretly proud of but wouldn't show the world in any big sort of way. And, again, that's fine - or is it? Is it fair to reduce creativity to something small that can be put in a basket and stored out of sight and not something which is an inherent, important part of yourself?

Adults need to grow up and realise they don't need to put perfect work into the world. The whole judging thing needs to stop or to be ignored. As for the time aspect, how long does it take to draw a few lines on a piece of paper? Being creative doesn't have to take a lot more effort than the effort you put into breathing every day. People need to go more: "Yay!" and just do stuff, try something new, see what happens if you mix that colour and this one or if you can write a 100-word short story or dance like a ballerina in a tutu (bonus points if you're a large man) and draw something and show someone and even if they don't say "Yay! You made that!" you need to say that to yourself.


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