CREATIVE By Alex Chaparro
"Most of us aren't artistic but we are all creative"
These words stayed with me from the moment that I first heard them many years ago. Where does creativity come from and how does one become creative? Do you have to be artistic to be creative?
My first memory of being creative was grabbing house hold items and turning myself into a superhero. I had a toy sword that lit up with batteries but I knew that my costume needed some help. I grabbed a yellow checkered table cloth that was dropped across a table and wrapped it around my neck. Alas, I have a cape! I then put on my sisters huge purple hat and instantly, I was mysterious! I capped it off with some gloves I found laying somewhere and my superhero persona was finished. I was a mysterious, hat wearing, cape flowing, sword swinging hero from a different planet, ready to attack any foes that stood in my presence.
I was lost in my own world I created then and as I was jumping around from couch to couch, running around with my sword swinging in the air, I was experiencing something I never experienced before. And that was freedom to be anything I wanted to be. To get lost in a moment that I created from scratch. It was like these thoughts came from a different planet! From afar, you probably chuckle at my crazy costume and dismiss it as a child being a child. But I didn’t care because I was using my real superhero powers, and that’s to be creative.
"I was experiencing something I never experienced before. And that was freedom to be anything I wanted to be."
Creativity is something that we aspire to have someday but the truth is, we all have it! We are just not using it. For most of us, we know that we are creative but we refuse to show it because on the other side of fear is this crazy unknown path that we are afraid to step into. We second guess ourselves and don’t try to do something creative because someone might make fun of it or they will not get it.
Creativity is defined as “the use of the imagination or original ideas”. As the older we get, the less time we have to be creative or we are not using our imagination. As a child I knew that I always had my imagination. Growing up in a lower income family, we didn’t have much. I didn’t have the latest toys and I had to share whatever I did have. My brothers and I did have an affinity to being creative. When I unleashed my imagination, everything was possible! My imagination fueled original ideas and I stepped into a space where things were possible.
"When I unleashed my imagination, everything was possible!"
I live in Los Angeles, California and I moved out here from Chicago to get into film making. It has been a struggle and a long journey here. I wanted to be in the capital of the film world, where all these creative people were. I wanted to soak it all in and be apart of it in any way, shape or form. Over the last three years, I’ve kinda lost that creative flair that I used to have over the weight of what this town sometimes brings. It is a competitive place, where you feel like the other person is ten times better than you. That they somehow have all the tools and trades to be these creative geniuses. L.A. can be overwhelming for many, and many actually leave in droves as fast as they got here.
What I began to realize is that I was comparing myself to others and loosing touch with the reality that was my own creativity. I wasn’t trusting my inner self and started to go with what everyone else was doing at the time. Once I realized that creativity comes from within and not from the outside, that’s when I unleashed a different side of me. I was more than ok with the idea that if I took my keyboard and started making “weird sounds” that felt right to me, that this piece of artwork might someday be appreciated by someone. It could also be a launching pad for someone that’s inspired by the uniqueness of said sound.
"I began to realize that I was comparing myself to others and loosing touch with the reality that was my own creativity."
You see, everything has a beginning. The Beatles are looked at as the most influential group in rock and roll history, and their music will last for many generations. What they tapped into was a place where they took what they knew (music) into a different direction. And how they did that was to express how they felt. Their message was simple, it was all about love. Love is the ultimate expression human beings can express. And love can take all shapes and forms. What they did, was try to express it in a 3 minute song and they captured that over and over again. That’s why they were successful. They let their creativity flow free.
To be creative, you must be in tuned with your feelings. For example, a bad break up leads to many great country or blues songs. Political unrest in the world leads to powerful photography. An ordinary soup can become a famous pop art painting. And the list goes on. Real life expressions always lead to creativity.
The secret is to find something that will express how you feel and when you do that, watch the creative wheels start to roll! Soon you will be exploding with ideas on how you can do something, or how you can change something. The most creative people in the world are usually the most passionate people you will meet. They have a cause or an idea or thoughts or something that they want to express. Then they harness all that energy into something that will express said idea.
My old roommate has an adult coloring book. And at first I chuckled when I saw it but then I thought that was the coolest thing ever! Because it lead me to a place where I can express how Im feeling. I can color a giraffe pink or blue. A horse orange or yellow. Or a dog with dots and shapes on it’s skin. The possibilities are endless! And that’s the point. When you let your inner creativity loose, the places you can go finally open up.
"When you let your inner creativity loose, the places you can go finally open up."
As a practice, my mentor had me imagine what heaven would look like. But my version of what heaven is. And for the next three minutes, I wrote down what I think heaven would look like. I wrote that at any point your fingers are like paint brushes and you can paint anywhere, any color. You can just paint in the sky and it will stay still or you can erase something with your thumb. I also wrote that you can take pictures by blinking and that that image will appear right infront of you. And if you want, you can physically grab it and it becomes a photograph you can take with you. What I learned by doing that exercise is that I was letting my mind go anywhere I wanted to go. I was letting loose and being free to do anything.
The struggle that most people face is that they think that you need to have talent to be creative. But the fun part is when you grab something you’ve never done and do it without knowing how to do it. Breaking the rules of what something should sound like or look like is fun. Musician PJ Harvey once made an entire album by going to a piano and start playing it without properly knowing how to play it. Nobody taught her how to play and she didn’t let that stand in her way of creating new music. The album was a success, and she learned something new about herself in the process. And that was to trust that how you feel about something is as important as how you express it. How you express it is only a reflection of how you feel about it. So might as well take a risk and do something with the intentions of expressing yourself. Sometimes that might inspire someone to follow in your footsteps and just learn to express in the most creative ways possible.
"Trust that how you feel about something is as important as how you express it."
Great art starts from within. It’s then expressed outwardly through any and all ways that you choose to express it. So why not express yourself the best way that you know how to. Trust that you are creative and that you can lead a creative life if you just simply believe in yourself.