Create or Recreate?
One is new and the other is copying – right?
One way to look at creativity is as an expression of thoughts, ideas, emotions, giving a voice to the accumulation of what has entered us at a particular point in life.
In a very real sense we are recreating all of those inputs and expressing them through the lens which is our interpretation or focus.
The Impressionist painters were seen as a group challenging the specified norms of the French art establishment. In their eyes, however, many of them were trying to find a more natural expression of the world around them, the sights, sounds, and emotions, in their experience.
Why do so many musicians/singers record their own versions of others’ songs? A cynic might say that if the song was successful before then it probably will be again. However, more often than not, the recreated version has a different feel or mood as it is expressed through the new musician.
The author Ian Rankin wrote his first and second Rebus novels with a knowing nod to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. There is no chemical experimentations or potions being drunk, but what makes Rankin’s hero Rebus so successful is that we see the darker elements of the man’s character as we also learn of with Dr. Jekyll.
Our creativity will always find its raw materials in what has come before us, and it is a creative person’s role to share that recreation, which others will take as their raw materials.
Rankin revisits the Jekyll and Hyde motiff when he brings in the gangster Cafferty, often in opposition to Rebus but also in many ways looking to achieve a similar outcome, although the reason or motivation is oppositional.
Take a tour through the last few hundred years of religious art and see how the figure of Jesus has changed during that time. Are artists creating a new Jesus? The figure of Jesus remains the same, but the context, the clothing, the expression, the realism, do change – Jesus is recreated through that artist/generations’ lens.
Create or recreate?
Both are there in the act of creativity.
Perhaps one just has a more explicit nod to the creativity of the past.