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Can We Learn Creativity or is it Natural?

By Sarah Mihich, Marketing Intern

Can We Learn Creativity or is it Natural?

For a lot of artists creating a masterpiece is easier than for others. There are a lot of questions and theories as scholars try to figure out if the most highly recognized masterpieces, such as Frankenstein, or a Pablo Picasso painting is learned or an innate ability.  A recent article highlighted in The Atlantic discussing a methodology on creativity.

A professor of economics at the University of Chicago, David Galenson, has an interesting modern theory on creativity focusing on age discrepancy in the success of creativity. “He found that an artist’s success and how old she is when she attains it is a function not of the artist’s skill but of methodology.”  Galenson proposes that there are two different kinds of artist, “experimental artists” who create their most successful masterpiece at an older age or “conceptual artists” who create their masterpiece at a very young age.  Both kinds of artists have different attitudes toward their creativity.

There is another popular theory that argues with Galenson that age has nothing to do with creativity but how much time an artist spends practicing their art. Malcom Gladwell’s Ouliers suggests that creativity can be learned. Gladwell says an individual needs to practice at least 10,000 hours before becoming an expert in that specific art. He states, “The point is simply that natural ability requires a huge investment of time in order to be made manifest.” Yet his root idea remains the same: Even if one has talent, it must be cultivated.”

Do you think creativity can be learned? Or do you think it is more of a combination of experience, openness, and the right neurology coming together? One thing I would have to agree with is that all of the great artists out there is had to spend a sufficient amount of time, had large amounts of experiences, had some kind of natural talent, and they were all open to new ideas. To learn more about this article and theories click here.

July 25, 2014

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