Wednesday 30 April 2014

The Artist Unleashed: THE SECRET TO CREATIVE SUCCESS by Derek Murphy

In a speech about creativity, John Cleese begins by admitting creativity is "literally inexplicable"—it just can't be explained. Freud denied that psychoanalysis could shed any light on creativity. Creativity is not a talent, he continues, it is a way of operating.

It's not an ability that you either have or not have, and it is absolutely unrelated to your IQ.

Cleese concludes that creativity is a way of putting yourself in a certain mood—an "ability to play" with ideas, not for any immediate practical purpose, but just for fun.

I disagree on a pretty fundamental level.
Sorry for the interruption, but The Artist Unleashed posts have moved to a new domain. Please click HERE to read the rest of this post and for the opportunity to comment.


  1. I wouldn't say it's a sell-out at all, but you putting food on the table. A day job, if you will...a way to bring in income while pursuing your passion, much like:

    Commercials are to Actors as BLANKS are to Writers.

    Yeah, we fill in the blanks with our own stepping stones to "passive" income, whether it be how-to's on writing as we fine tune (or even begin) our careers in fiction, or by crafting cover designs, etc.

    I liked how you compared creativity to electricity...yeah, you got it, and it will power whatever "tool" you choose...just decide which tool/project is the one for you.

    I dabble in many fine arts (painting, acting, singing) and have even been paid to do so, however, while they're passions of mine, they won't put food on the table (at least for me); they're creative dalliances. However, I did use these skills in office jobs, etc., to get into positions where my creativity added that special something that everyone else lacked. This allowed me to semi-retire at an early age (36) and pursue writing.

    Good thoughts, Derek.

    M.L. Swift, Writer

  2. Very interesting piece, but I'm not sure the second half relates to the first.

    In the first half you outline a theory of creativity, which you then deconstruct by talking about "creative success" - but you don't define "creative success" in a way that most people would recognise, instead defining it as a state of life arrived at through creative endeavour. You then state that such a state of life is not arrived at by creativity as outlined in part one. I am not sure how that can possibly attack the definition as a definition of creativity. And I'm not sure what you are proposing as an alternative theory of creativity other than "one that leads to the state of life I am outlining as the product of creative success" - in which case why is the success particularly creative in nature?

  3. I agree completely Dan - these are rough notes loosely based on larger research books on creativity I'm writing. This articles is more rhetorical than logical (arguably, you can be more persuasive with rhetorical writing than you can be with thought out, well reasoned, well-documented research). I'm working on two projects, "The Creative Brain on Drugs" and "Not for Hire" - both will more clearly set up my definitions of creativity and provide a historical overview of the evolution of the contemporary ideology.

  4. You can certainly be more persuasive, yes!

    That sounds like 2 fascinating books. One of the recent developments that interests me most is Tom McCarthy's assertion that creatives are simply mechanical operatives in an echo chamber blindly cutting and pasting. Very much in contrast to the "muscle-driven" Hegelian narratives that tend to fuel the likes of Mahler, Picasso, Pollock, Modernism and a lot of those rather scary early 20th century movements like Futurism and Vortcism., or the randomness of many more mystical traditions where creativity is something truly new, almost, in Douglas Adams-ian fashion, like casting your eye over the works of the Uffizi and conjuring upa blancmange

  5. Interesting take. If you ask me, if you're making something that has value to you, and some people are willing to pay for it, you're creating art. Whether or not it's good, art? Who really cares? That's subjective anyway.


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris