Creativity, performance, art… ?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

I recently had an invigorating chat with old university friends about creativity, performance and art…
I was then questioned via twitter; “what do the words ‘creativity performance art’ actually mean in combination? 🙂
Until now I haven’t had time to compose a reply.
Of course Creative Arts is what I studied and thoroughly enjoyed an age ago at uni, before digital dialogue was common place; my notes and essays now slumber in the garage with my Valentinos’ tickets & mortarboard. But, without getting academic and theoretical, is there a utilitarian answer?

putting ‘stuff’ together in a new or another way, to resonate a novel or appropriate difference…
To do, to function, to present, to accomplish, to entertain, to interact…
putting ‘stuff’ together in a new or another way, to resonate a novel or appropriate difference…
…to illuminate the familiar, to resurrect the lost, to prize grace out of joy, to make firm that that is in flux, to capture, weave or play with, to engage, disturb, entertain, please, refresh, challenge…

In our current societies, often the audience, readers or recipients are an integral part of creative work; each reader brings their own experience to an action or thing…
Variables are objective, meaning is subjective…
Science might be objective, imagination might be subjective…
Breath might be objective, love might be subjective…
Death might be objective, hope might be subjective…

I like the popular circus, sequins and saccharine as much as the next person but I fear it’s over-celebrated. I guess it’s individualism, commerce and consumerism that drives our cultures and the appetite for a more wholesome creativity, query and discipline might be obscured and smothered in peanut butter, candy crush and eastenders.

To work-over Wallace Stevens’ reflections in Opus Posthumous:
After one has abandoned a belief in truth, creativity is that essence which takes its place as life’s redemption. But as one attempts to find a fiction to replace the lost truths, one immediately encounters a problem: a direct knowledge of reality is not possible. The world influences us in our everyday perspectives, “were we to place a jar on a hill in Tennessee, we would impose an order onto the landscape”.

I think AN answer to the posed question; “what do the words ‘creativity performance art’ actually mean in combination?; might be living more openly, acting more honestly, and being more…

The interaction between things is what makes them fecund… (Wallace Stevens)



Multi-faceted-GodTHUMBI recently created a trio of visuals to accompany three poems reflected on at the recent Methodist Conference 2013.

These were also re-produced on handy bookmarks for future reference and reflection.

After the success of these, I was asked by Jo Kay to consider some of her poems and as a result I’ve produced the visual below, tom accompany Jo’s poem Multi-faceted God.


This is Jo’s poem:


Multi-faceted God, whose every myriad of surfaces

Reflect every tone and hue of colour

In the wonder of creation.

All the colours, shades and varieties

of the promised and longed for rainbow.

Whose face recognises mine in all this riot of colour.


Multi-lingual God, whose multiplicity of ears

Recognise every tone and timbre of tongue

Of all the wonderful nations.

All the rhythms, cadences and songs

Of the people of this Earth.

Whose ear hears my voice through the cacophony of sound.


Multi-purpose God, whose existence for me is my purpose;

Reflects for me the longings and desires

Of all created people.

All the needs, hopes and yearnings

Of believers young and old

Who brings purpose to my life in all its richness and diversity.


Multi-sensory God, whose every sense is finely tuned

Mirroring those we have in the world.

A sense of smell and sense of wonder

All the taste and sight and awe

That we share with the Holy Mystery

The God who senses every person, knows their minds, hearts and voices.


Multi-focused God, whose every facet is focused on me and you

Amazing God who looks on everyone

Looks with every atom of being and existence

On every person in creation

Concentrates on only me and only you and you

And you and you and you

This Holy Mystery who encompasses all and holds us for all time.


©Jo Kay Douai Abbey April 2013



I dreamed a dream…

Just watched the film Les Misérables DVD, hummm… Great performances and some great songs…

I then watched 15mins of a David Bowie documentary, hummm…. that’s more like it… buzzzzzzzzzzz.

Maybe it was due to the small screen, perhaps it was one of those films designed for the cinema experience? The start of the film hooked me in but by halfway through it lost me.
Romantic claptrap. I wanted more… having not read the Victor Hugo novel I felt that this was possibly a merry dance on what truly is a much bigger creation. As a stand alone work I found it seemed like spicy popcorn and cheap wine. Nice but no cigar.

In contrast, the brief glimpse of some David Bowie interviews got me buzzing.


I have recently wondered if my current medication is affecting my perception, reaction, or emotional reception to stimuli? I used to shed a tear at the least little thing on tv – drama, film and even pop tv might hook me in. But now I think of it, I can’t recall the last time a film got me going, either identifying with pleasure or sorrow.

Is my suspension of disbelief being affected? My experience of Disney Paris was not affected, but that’s sensory overload, you can’t fight the mighty saccharin Americana Mouse and friends.

Am I in the grip of the old academic ‘paralysis of analysis’ chestnut? I don’t think so – more recently I feel under-analysis and the failure to engage is a more likely.

So back to what’s changed… neurones… brain activity… hummmm….

Finally, Bowie, fantastic, creativity…. Reminded me of Matt, Simon and I experimenting with audience/performer relationships in Cheshire… Experimental sound, speech, movement, oh… to experiment and create again….
It seems ‘life’ can kill the dreams you might dream…

“Those who do not weep, do not see”
“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
“It is ourselves we have to fear. Prejudice is the real robber, and vice the real murderer.”
“Often when we think we are knotting one thread, we are tying quite another.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


Potato Snack Art

We’re not great crisp eaters but the kids have been collecting them for a few months and the time had come to create:

Crunch crunch!


A touch of the hem? Haunting Vibrancy

Walking around leicester today… …it’s been a while. People; characters, so many different lives, weaving the mesh that is….

I can’t find words… my routine day to day life hides me from the vibrancy of people! I guess I’m naive and fail to see outside of my habits and duties.

‘Iguanagone’ by Frank Bowling OBE, RA.
Leicester New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

We came across this painting ‘Iguanagone’ in Leicester’s New Walk Gallery – Iguanagone (The Council’s photograph does an injustice) I find it hauntingly vibrant, deeply resonant, why?  I’m not familiar with Bowling or any issues he’s exploring.  Is that ok?  What can we take from viewing this artwork?  Is it like hearing a song in another language?  Is it like entertaining a stranger?

August Sander, Farming Family 1912
© SK Stiftung Kultur, Bonn/All Rights Reserved DACS 2011

Also on display at New Walk is a collection of photography by August Sander.  Again, some of these images, especially as a collective, are intriguing. Images of characters, people, from the early part of the last century.  Strangers again, but strangely, hauntingly familiar?

Thoughts come back to ‘people’, so different… yet supposedly essentially the same?

Am I just naively seeing the wrappers, the book jackets, the brandings, the tribal clichés?

At a quick glance the rich tapestry of the initial experience is vibrant, but the resonance is deeper (or closer?) than that. The essential character is hauntingly present.

I don’t know what, and it might only be a touch of the hem of truth, but…
I know something about Frank’s ‘Iguanagone’. I know something about August’s ‘Farming Family’.
I know something about the tattooed girl in the coffee queue, the man up the ladder, the youths bunched around a secret, the mother fraught with baggage, the uniformed assistant, the proud bus driver, the dedicated follower of fashion, the struggling student, the carefree young man, the obsessed teen, the wizened ladies, the brillcreamed old soldier, the businessman, the lost girl, the tourist, the thief, the addict, the artist, and even myself…

I know something about them, but probably only just a glimpse of something true.

JPR Harrowgate Flower Show 2012

More than simple…

Simple is not the right word….
I came across the creation below recently and it ‘struck a chord’.

Sarah May Rogers - artwork

I like to think of affective art as having a resonance, and this work by Sarah May Rogers rings my neurones.
I recall being taught that the resonating buzz between the coherence and the correspondence in an image/artwork forms a flavour, sound, dream, wonder… fabula… syuzhet… etcblah… enough nonsense.
The artwork above may at first seem a simple image but I have found it quite satisfying; a unique creation, with perfect colours, great composition and proportion, a great idea with a lasting resonance! Big Smile.

Check out her other creations.
Thanks Sarah.