why do we create?

For some of us it was never a choice whether we went into a creative field or not. I knew in kindergarten I was destined to be an artist. I knew at six years of age, after visiting a friend’s home whose father was a painter. It was the smell of turpentine and oil paint that did it for me. Was this a calling or something else triggered off in my brain? I know it’s not something I can help. While many people take up art as a hobby, it’s the artist who lives and dies by its passion.

Artists are a complicated bunch, that’s no surprise. Who else has the arrogance to try and reinvent beauty, reinterpreting the way we look at ourselves through all its gut wrenching truths. Art is a luxury of our society. It is not an essential part of day to day survival like food or water. However, without the artist there would be no beauty, no style, no invention, no insight into life itself.

I realize my brain functions in a certain way and I can’t help the way I’m wired, which leads me to the study done by Roger W. Sperry, a 1981 Nobel Prize winner who discovered how the brain thinks in two very different ways. The brain has two hemispheres, the right lobe and the left lobe with each side processing situations very differently. The right brain is the visual and intuitive side. It is able to see the whole picture instead of just details. The left side of the brain, however, is more analytical, more detailed oriented and comes to more logical conclusions. This explains everything.

I see now why I became a realist painter. I’m without a doubt a right brain thinker. While I love abstract art, I find it difficult to do. There’s a sense of completion I can’t see in advance and this hinders my creative process. It now makes perfect sense.

So my conclusion about creativity is simple: it starts in the right side of the brain, but it’s our own individual experiences that develops it to its fullest.