Chapter 24: The ‘illusio’ of the creative life: case studies of emerging artists
Art students, repeating the ‘truth’ of Romantic and Modernist traditions, frequently take the view that their creative process is intuitive and non-predetermined and stems from a natural talent or their psychology (Brown and Thomas, 1999). This ‘truth’ is repeatedly legitimated institutionally in approaches to assessment in university art school programs that ostensibly reward students for their capacity for self-direction and problem solving (Ecker, 1966). Lecturers search for evidence in the students’ documentation and self-reports of the creative process including their references to concepts that motivate their artworks, methods, techniques, and influencing theory and its coherence with the artworks they make. Yet, explanations about what art students know about how to proceed are far from exhausted by external or means-ends explanations (Brown, 2005). This chapter examines how two art students, as different cases of what is possible, seek to reconcile their obligations to the contradictory demands of the ‘truth’ of the creative process in the institutional constraints of the art school, thereby building their investment in the creative life.
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