Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan
Chapter 8: Playing to the gallery: myth, method and complexity in the creative process
Cognitive theories of creativity highlight the complexity of creative processes and suggest that artists succeed in reconciling very different, even contradictory, ways of thinking and frames of reference in their work. Yet in the presentation of creative practice, artists are often complicit in the selective misrepresentation of their own work by markets and institutions. These selective misreadings of the creative process disconnect the creative act and the creative person from the contexts which give them meaning and value, resulting in a simplified, individualised portrait of the artist’s work. The chapter begins by reconsidering Raymond Williams’ concept of culture as ‘structure of feeling’. In the shift from ‘cultural’ to ‘creative’ industries, we are in danger of overlooking the important interaction between individual talent and collective cultural values highlighted by Williams. This shift will be considered in relation to the political rhetoric of the ‘creative industries’, the commercial imperatives of branding individual artists, and the self-doubt and evasiveness of individual artists.
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