Friday, August 28, 2015

Being part of a "scenius"

     In "Show Your Work", Austin Kleon says that one of the most destructive myths about creativity is that only the lone genius is going to be able to achieve good  creative work. He then states, "There's  a healthier way of thinking about creativity that the musician Brian Eno refers to as "scenius". Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals- artists, curators, thinkers, theorists, and other tastemakers- who make up an "ecology of talent". If you look back closely at history, many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of "a whole scene of pople who were supporting each other, looking at each other's work, copying from each other, stealing ideas and contributing ideas." Scenius doesn't take away from the achievements of those great individuals; it just acknowledges that good work isn't created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds."
     With "Men in Hats", we have a scenius. During the summer, we are painting outdoors and then, in the winter, meet in a studio to  do more painting. Definitely, there is a scenius effect as we encourage each other. The above painting was done this past Wednesday at Hycroft where we have an exhibition. As part of our contract, we were invited to paint on the lawn so that members attending the BBQ could stroll around for a look during the social hour. We set up around 2 pm and left when the actual BBQ started at 6. The painting was my effort. You see the full scene in the photo below it with another of the group, David McHolm, painting and also showing other work. You will note that I eliminated the building across the street as I felt it didn't contribute anything to the painting. The challenge was getting the hydrangeas to look like hydrangeas and not random blobs! I feel that being part of this group has helped me on my "absorbing errand". In fact, in "An Absorbing Errand" by Janna Malamud Smith, that I mentioned a couple of blogs ago, she states "We need to work alone; we need to have privacy- sometimes a lot of it-.... but we also need to be stirred up, stimulated and challenged by others, especially others who share our interests and with whom we feel some modicum of mutual respect."
     UWC club members who viewed us painting commented that it was interesting to see everyone doing something different. This is part of the fun of the group - we each take a different view and a different approach when we are out painting. Sometimes what we do succeeds - and sometimes we kick ourselves for not choosing a different spot or different angle - and sometimes we are in total awe at what another painter produced - but it all adds up to keeping the creative juices flowing as we take our own paths - but with the support of others.

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