International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Original Creative Principle

Volume 21.3   2002



The following imaginary interview is linked to an hour long drawing workshop carried out during the 2002 NSEAD Annual Conference ‘Creativity in Art & Design Education’. The intention was to get closer to the experience by raising questions. I hope those who participated may recognise it as, in some way, connected to their experience. The American Artist, Robert Motherwell maintained an interest in psychic automatism throughout his life. Although he remained suspicious of its mystical connotations, fundamental principles appeared to inform his working methods. Motherwell identified a number of key issues, which serve to define its potential in the origination and development of paintings and drawings. He saw the process as ‘...very little a question of the unconscious, but much more a plastic weapon with which to invent new forms.’ Motherwell’s analysis and, to some extent defence, of the process is as follows:
1. It cuts through any a priori influences - it is not a style
2. It is entirely personal
3. It is, by definition, original
4. It can be modified stylistically and in subject matter at any point during the process.
The proposed drawing workshop seeks to explore Motherwell’s approach and by definition, exposes a related and learning and teaching strategy. The process serves as a catalyst for creative thinking, exploiting analogy, simile and metaphor in the generation of artistic and personally defined contexts or narratives.