The Myth of Creativity

Quick! What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you read the word “creative?” Did you picture an artist working on his painting? A writer finding the words to her next poem? How about yourself?

Creative has long been regarded as an elite title reserved for writers, painters, sculptors … artists. You’re either born with creativity or you’re not … right? Artist and creativity coach, Carrie Seid, and Stephanie Balzer, executive director at the Drawing Studio refuse to believe that.

“It’s an unfortunate word,” Seid says. “It’s limiting and stereotypical. Yes, it includes the arts and innovation, but it’s not limited to that. It is our birthright.”

Every time you make a decision, whether it’s how to start a conversation with friends or what you’ll wear for a night out, that is creativity says Seid. To her, using your intelligence to make a choice… that’s the creative process! “You are CREATE-ing something! You are CREATE-ive.”

Balzer agrees. “Everyone has an innate creativity, and how it manifest might differentiate,” she says. Balzer believes many don’t buy into their own creativity, because we are not taught to be creative like we are taught to be analytical. “It can be intimidating.”

To Seid and Balzer, creative was never something they discovered or learned… it was something that they just were.

“I had a bulletin board in my room I would curate. It was an afternoon activity. I don’t think there was an awareness [of creativity]. I didn’t think anyone was different. It was just how I expressed myself,” says Balzer of her “creative” childhood.

“My maker movement started when I was about 7,” says Seid. “I was a big furniture rearranger when I was little. I loved creating a new space. Then, I learned macrame and it was all over. It was enormously empowering.”

The pair’s Myths of Creativity and New Ways to Approach Creative Thinking talk at this year’s TENWEST Festival aims to challenge these established ideas and offer a new perspective on creativity.

Balzer compares creativity to one of those fun pictures that you have to stare/squint/and “un-focus” on to see the actual image. “It makes the whole picture softer in order to explore the options and ways to look at it. Then you can snap back and see it as a pattern again. You get on a different circuit in your brain.”

This next level of thinking is crucial to any process. A spreadsheet IS a canvas and an entrepreneur IS an artist.

“There is a pragmatic side to the talk,” Balzer says. She says that while creativity has given her a way to express herself artistically, it has also allowed her a career.  “You might not want to be an artists, but you might want to draw out this as a skill. You might want to help others achieve that. Navigate world problems,” Balzer says.

Seid says her and Balzer also hope to offer “creative nourishment” to the Tucson Community.

“There’s something about the desert that calls seekers. And artists are seekers,” says Balzer. She says that Tucson is a desert for the arts … where a person can bloom, Seid adds.

According to Seid, the TENWEST Festival fits into her idea of creativity and will serve as a hub to get the best from the community. “It’s about cross pollination. We get to get together to see what we can do.”

Whether you’re an artist stuck in a rut, an office worker, or somewhere in between, shattering the myths behind the elusive “creative” label opens up a world of opportunity. “We’re pushing the idea of what it means to bring yourself to the world each day,” Seid says.

Myths of Creativity and New Ways to Approach Creative Thinking happens Monday, October 24 at 4 p.m. Get your ticket to TENWEST today!