• Matt Walker

Creativity & Craft

What is creativity? Well, as a creative director, I ought to know, right? Right. Unfortunately, there’s nothing set in stone regarding the act of being creative. I’d hazard a guess that most people think of “creative types” as being artistic in some way, shape, or form. A painter. A performer. A designer, writer, photographer, editor, film/video director, and so forth and so on.

Was the final painting creative? Or did Jackson's creativity reside in discovering a new solution to a blank canvas?

Well, I disagree. That’s not to say that these individuals aren’t creative. More than likely, they have an overabundance of creative juices coursing through their veins. But the output of that creativity, the final product that so many view as the creative product, is, in fact, not a creative product at all. It’s craft. It’s years and years of honing said craft. That craft facilitates a creative desire. And that desire is always … ALWAYS … to solve a specific and nagging problem.

There you have it. Creativity is problem solving. Well, ok, that’s too homogeneous. Solving the equation 2+2 is by no means a creative endeavor. Why? That answer has already been discovered. Creativity is uncovering a solution that has never seen the light of day. Better yet, creativity is uncovering a problem that no one knew was a problem to begin with and then presenting a solution that’s equally unheard of.

"Creativity is the brain having fun." - Albert Einstein

In my line of work, both craft and creativity are fantastically important. Without impeccable craft, the work (the external expression of a creative solution) will fall flat and lifeless. It will fall on deaf ears, slip past watchful eyes, and fail to entice a single neuron. It won’t tickle the funny bone nor will it tug at the heart strings. And it will never ever inspire a modicum of action. Whatever the desired action may be.

Craft is the beautiful and painstaking work that ultimately stops people in their tracks, encourages their eyes to linger, chokes them up with a swell of emotion, and has people laughing when they least expected to be doing so. Which, by the way, is always the best time.

Creativity is the relentless pursuit of asking why. Again, and again, and again. Why? Why? Why? The more you ask, the closer you’ll get to a very real and very powerful human truth. And once uncovered, that truth will lead you to a very real solution. Something that makes a real difference – for you, your client, and most importantly for the people you seek to entice.

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