Inspiration: a functional approach to creative practice.

PhD thesis in Art, Design & Media, by Gil Dekel.


7.1 Summary of Literature and Intentions of the Investigation

The literature cited above scans the developments in art from representing the external visible world to expressing the internal act of creation. The literature has provided examples of stages in the creative process which begin with feelings that are given meanings, then transform into artistic forms, and later are put into action and made into art works.

However, the actual process of how the act of expression is achieved is either not discussed or remains vague within the current literature I have reviewed here.

Therefore my intention in the following is to show through documenting my processes of creating artworks the developments from one work to the other and the influences of feedback from audiences.

In addition, through interviews with other artists I will demonstrate the core commonalities in the different approaches that the different artists have and which allow all of them to open up to be inspired to create. With these investigations I intent to counter the current popular view in the literature that opening to inspiration is an act achieved due to the unique personality of the artists which cannot be nourished by other people. In a final art workshop experiment I will demonstrate that so-called non-artists can be brought to share the same creative processes as artists do.

I will discuss the role of my paper presentations I gave in conferences as well as paper publications I had during this research, and will demonstrate how these activities can be integrated into art work in terms of their creative process. In this way I will demonstrate the quality of artists to combine both the creative artistic faculty and the more structured academic faculties of generating ideas and coherencies.

In the next chapter (chapter 8) I will discuss the methods I employed in this research, and will reveal some approaches I took in which I employed art making as a research method that generated data for my thesis (see section 8.1.4. Art practice as a research method). In order to complement the literature that debates a general theoretical idea that art should be seen as valid research method, I will demonstrate that this is possible in action, in real life, and will discuss the way that I have undertaken this. Piirto’s important article The Creative Process in Poets (2005) demonstrates a lack in the present literature. While Piirto reviews the experiences that artists report once entering a state of heightened emotions, there is no explanation of how artists arrive at such states, and what is the process in which one state triggers another.

Certain literature in psychology as well as Gestalt deal with emotion and art, yet from a physiological and physical approach, not from a spiritual one. That literature focuses on re-action, while I focus on the action of making choices. In theories of re-action, if I may call them so, the researcher looks at emotion as a response for something, a cause and effect. For example, arguing that if someone feels happy it is because something else made them happy. Yet, in my theory, which I call the theory of action, I argue that emotion is not the result of something external but is an inner personality and intensity, whereby one chooses to be happy, one acts, not re-acts. Making choices brings up certain types of energy to create.

I will document these processes in this thesis, and discuss the methods I used in chapter 8, while a full review of the application of the methods will be discussed in chapter 9.

Chapter 9 will demonstrate the application of the methods in practice with the resulting academic and art works created as part of the investigation process of this research. That chapter will also assess the works and will conclude core themes in the process of creativity. These core themes will serve as the basis for chapters 10–12.

Chapters 10–12 will test the core themes of my works against the works of other artists, drawing from my interviews with artists, visiting exhibitions, literature review, and feedback from audiences on my works and papers.

Chapter 13 concludes chapters 10–12.

Chapter 14 will discuss an art workshop experiment in which I applied and tested the conclusions in practice. This chapter will demonstrate in practice my findings in relation to the creative process.