Art Blog Creativity
How (Not) to be Creative
September 1, 2014
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I’m fairly creative. I’ve got a degree in music, like to draw, appreciate great design, and am otherwise an aesthetically oriented guy.

As a music student, I came across a distinction that I didn’t know existed — that of absolute music and program music. If you’ll endure the definitions, absolute music is music for music’s sake — it isn’t about anything. It’s just there as itself, for itself. Program music, on the other hand, is music about something else — a story, poem, picture, etc.

Reflecting on that distinction for a minute, I find that much that passes for creativity these days is absolute. And I find that tragic.

Creativity for its own sake is, well, uncreative. Think about the word creative. That is, creational. Creation has intention. When God got creative, it wasn’t for the fun of it. It was for a reason — namely, His glory and our good. When creativity ceases to be about God, it turns in on itself. Looking to art for the meaning of art is like looking to your body for food — you eat yourself. Art about art dissolves into meaninglessness. Art about the great Artist — well, that is abundant with meaning.

(Note: The above video was put together by a team of awesome creatives at Aletheia, for our recent sermon series. I think it’s a great example of program art.)

 

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There is 1 comment

  • Joel Hansen says:

    I’m not sure I agree, because I actually can’t think of any form of art that is truly meaningless. In music, at least, “music for music’s sake” is incredibly valuable, and it isn’t meaningless at all. Music is a language; it always communicates something, whether it’s a soundtrack(program), has a concrete narrative associated with it or not(absolute).
    I think about the creation that God made. Does every creature, planet and star have value only because of its utility in illustrating something else, or because it is in itself beautiful? Of course, these things give glory to God, because He made them beautiful. If a beautiful thing has no more meaning than just beauty in itself, we’ve created something good, and if we’ve partnered with the Holy Spirit in creating it, I’m sure it glorifies God as well.

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