Wednesday, October 14, 2009

To Make Things Pretty

As you've no doubt noticed, dear reader, my blog is not particularly aesthetically pleasing. This is not through a lack of want. It may be through laziness. Maybe I could make things look nice if I spent hours figuring out how to do stuff, thinking of what I want, then putting it all together. But mainly it's due to many years of creative retardation. Externally, but mostly self created.

I always refer to a particular moment in my year 7 art class that I remember distinctly to this day. I was never in an environment to encourage creative outlet (visually) so I already knew I was no Francisco de Goya. I was, however, ready to try.

I had drawn something in the aforementioned art class. After I had finished, I looked at it. I knew it wasn't great compared to what anyone else could do, but knowing my limitations I knew I had done well - for me. Of course I didn't think it was fantastic, but I saw things in it that I didn't hate and could see a potential for improvement. I got this feeling inside. Something I rarely felt. It was felt in my chest but triggered in the back of my head...what was this feeling? Hang this...pride?!! Damn it, I had done something I was proud of!!

The teacher made her way around the class and eventually made her way to me. "Oh Cameron, that's not bad"
"I know" I thought
"But, maybe we could..." she picked up my pencil....

The rest of what she said was a blur as I saw her go over every one of my carefully placed pencil strokes with her own, patronising, accurate, artistically acceptable scrawlings. My head was a fog. I could see my own hard work fade under the opinions of a middle aged woman who had never been able to succeed with her own creativity so felt the need to crush and stifle the potential of 12 year old boys.

Can I pin my creative retardation on this one moment in my life? By the actions of one, pent up, washed-up-never-made-it-artist of a teacher? Of course not. Many people have very similar experiences of art teachers and we are all masters of our own destinies. But I do identify this moment as a catylist for my many years of lack of enthusiasm to further my visual creative abilities. It has only been in the last year or so - at the age of nearly 30 - to try to at least attempt it.

I have by no means been completely retarded creatively. From a very young age I have been writing. I have focused on music in the last few years, but writing has always been one of the few things I have known I can do. Stories, poetry, lyrics, scripts. The problem however: who wants to read? Particularly blogs? The internet is all about consuming what is in front of you as quickly as possible. Have you even read this far?

So, thank you, Mrs (or it may have been Ms) Ingham: thanks for nothing. Some of us don't have a natural ability to make things look nice and need to be encouraged and given time to bloom. I hope I can finally at least get a chance to bud.

P.S. I only just figure out how to edit the title of my blog. Just so I could change the typo from a capital 'i' to lower case in 'little'


  1. Interesting post. This grabed me. Questions flew around...mostly about the idea of Can creativity be taught? And do teachers realise their power (is that the right word?) The power to inspire, or to create the environment where risks and innovation are rewarded, not for immediate superficial gain, but just for the pleasure of creating.
    I'll have to disagree with you about the 'net being about consuming what is in front of you as quickly as possible, I think it is more than that...for some people.

  2. Interesting points. I think teachers have the power to encourage creativity as much as the power to dampen it. I guess that's one of the reasons I'm studying to be a teacher myself (to encourage, not dampen!).

  3. Yeah, 'power' is stunningly simple. What would you prefer: a silent passive class of students Or an active, innovative class of learners...