Being a creative person
I came across this article in Psychology Today recently. Whilst it’s very technical, I was drawn to it by some keywords in the opening passage that really resonate with what Blueflamingo is about, and how my life’s journey lead me to create it:
“Divergence opens up possibilities, creating the flexibility to be extraordinary, to stand out from the crowd and enliven others with a spellbinding display of wit and artistry. When attuned to the environment, when humor is working well and the timing is right, the ideas flow… When out of step, the creative process can spiral into loneliness, even despair, leaving you feeling excommunicated and dead inside.” [Psychology Today, 2018. The emphasis is my own.]
The gist of the article is that scientists are now able to look at scans of brains ‘at rest’ and identify whether the person is highly creative or not. They may be able to develop this into an ability to stimulate our creative networks so in future we may be able to use a literal “thinking cap” device on our heads whenever we need an ideas boost. Although an invention like that would raise ethical issues around meddling with our minds – our sense of self and identity – it’s quite exciting to think that artists who’ve hit a dry spell could be swung straight back into creative mode, or we could flick a switch and suddenly be able to solve a problem that’s been bothering us.
More importantly, I think, is the possible therapeutic benefits of a device like that. It’s long been known there is a link between creative people and mental health. Creative people are more likely to think deeply about their experiences, their place in the world, and the world itself, for long periods which can lead them into a depressed state. Van Gogh, Degas, Gaugin, Pollock, Michelangelo, de Goya, Miro and Rothko are artists known to have suffered from bouts of depression, some of them very severe.
Whilst there’s no real evidence that the reverse is true – that depression makes you more creative – it has been found to be therapeutic, and that has been so true in my own experience.
When I moved to Cascais, Portugal, in the 1990s with my husband and two toddlers, I was suffering from postnatal depression. I was blessed by finding some inspiration and motivation in my new surroundings and culture and I signed up for a workshop in the local tradition of tile painting. I found it so uplifting that I started a business painting tiles and installing them in bespoke wrought iron tables and chairs which I sold. I developed an interest in other areas of art and when I moved back to the UK I became a mature student, gaining a BA in Fine Art in 2014. My family is so proud of me – as am I!
My creativity continued to help me rise above all the knocks that life deals us all, and it found an outlet through my art-inspired home textiles and personal accessories which I sold in the UK and US. And that lead to me creating Blue Flamingo in Autumn 2017 as a platform to sell my unique, art-inspired, pocket square designs for men and scarves for women in the UK.
Here are three pieces of my work which inspired some of my silk scarf and pocket square designs onvshopblueflamingo.com.
I’m so happy that I found art – or that it found me. And I’ve also found many people in similar boats sailing up this turbulent river. We’ve exchanged our stories which is not only incredibly supportive, but so fascinating and inspiring for me to find out what others have overcome, and how they’ve followed their dream. In fact, I’m so inspired I’m launching a Facebook platform, “Passion Talks” for us to share our experiences live with anyone who’d like to listen. But more about that another week.
How about you? Have you had any experiences with depression and/or creativity that you’d like to share? Please leave your comments; I’d love to hear from you.