Art vs Creativity

Just what is the difference?

Alan Williamson posed the following question on Twitter not that long ago:

Do you know the difference between being artistic and creative?

For me, the distinction is simple.

Art is beauty. Art is created to elicit emotion, for that purpose and that purpose alone.

Think of the National Gallery, Tate Modern or a million other art collections. It’s an emotional experience.
In the work place, the inspiring people, the people who lead, do their ‘art’ (thanks very much, Mr Godin). They’re driven to do it. But they can’t do it in a vacuum.

Which is why they need to be creative.

Being creative is about applying art. It’s about application of strategy to an object of beauty, or working your ‘art’ in a strategic context.

Let’s not just draw a pretty picture. Let’s draw a pretty picture which advances our core strategy, whatever that might be.

Without strategy, creative is just art. Beautiful though it is, it’s just ‘art’.

But can artists be creative? Yes, without a doubt. But they need a framework, a strategy, to elevate their art into creativity.

Van Gogh was an artist. He painted what he saw or what he thought. Tracey Emin is creative, strategically designing pieces to attack the viewers’ emotional state on a whole host of levels. It’s a subtle distinction.

What are your thoughts? Is it as clear cut as I make out? Or is it infinitely more subtle, something that only an artist could truly understand?


So - what did you think? Love it? Loathe it? Have something to add? Well, what are you waiting for?

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