By Shelley Smith-Dale
ART: Copying Other People’s Art Can Boost Creativity
Creativity and copying appear to be polar opposites. Where creativity requires originality and new ideas, copying is just, well, copying. It seems unlikely then that there would be a link between replicating another artist’s work and being able to create new, fresh work of your own. However, Kentaro Ishibashi and Takeshi Okada, an architect and a professor at the University of Tokyo in Japan respectively, have been researching this topic for several years, and have found that copying may help facilitate artistic creativity.
When working with students I have found that giving pictorial samples provides a basis, an inspiration, if you will, that enables them to start. Staring at a white piece of paper can inhibit and stall the inspiration process. They are then told to make their own decisions using elements such as form, shape, colour, texture, line, colour and value.
The first rule of improvisation is “yes, and,” meaning that anyone’s contribution to the group discussion is accepted without judgment. There are four ‘c’s of improv: creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication. Improv is all about persuading students to abandon their fear of mistakes, insisting on unconditional support to all answers, working to build trust among the group, and then definitely inviting risk-taking.
Not only does it improve communication and public speaking skills, it also facilitates fast thinking and creating ideas. On a deeper level, improv works at taking away mental barriers that block creative thinking and it rewards spontaneous, intuitive responses. Thinking outside the box is what it’s all about; going in an unexpected direction makes it exciting. Because improv depends on the group providing total support for every answer, participants also grow in confidence and feel more connected to others. Improv changes you on the inside as it sets up an environment where risks are encouraged, and greeted positively and with respect.
Shelley Smith-Dale, Arts Coordinator
I have been in education for over 35 years, working with the Arts for all of that time. If I wasn’t directly teaching one of the Arts I would integrate them into my courses. I have seen first hand how Arts can free a student, give confidence to a student, delight a student and enhance their understanding of concepts taught.