The Artistic Process
This is a subject that by its nature has to be very personal. Personalities take a big role in how we approach creativity. Where you draw inspiration from, your thought process, and how you solve creative challenges are some of the factors each of us use in the creative process. Much of the following is my philosophy on the subject. My life experiences, good and bad, my likes and dislikes, and my mood at any given time all play a part in how I approach creative thinking. So, take from it what you will, and apply the influences of your life to your process.
Left vs. Right Brain
The thought that we are either right- or left-brain thinkers is something to take into account, although I feel we are all both, just with a dominance in one side or the other. We also change over time. As we gain experience in a subject, the tools within you take over when challenges present themselves. You run on automatic in high-pressure situations, which is a great asset to draw on when you have to perform at the top of your game. But, when you want to truly be creative, you need to turn this switch off, and let your creative process run its course.
Left Brain Dominance
For me, the process starts with a lot of thought, reflection and some research. I love to go to old work of mine and think about what I can do to improve the creativity with the tools I have added to my skill set. This is the left-brain part; the analytical process is something I need to work through before I start to think creatively. I suggest that you always keep a notebook with you. You never know when inspiration may strike. Make notes to yourself when these moments come. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had an inspiration that I wrote down and forgot about, and then, during the analytical process, I referred to my notes and that inspiration came back to me and got the creative thoughts flowing again.
Right Brain Dominance
I also spend a lot of time looking at other art, not necessarily photography but paintings, sculpture, and nature. This is where I can jump-start the right brain. I draw much of my inspiration from fine art of all kinds, so I’m fortunate to have several museums I can get lost in nearby. Over the years, I have also collected a ton of books of artists that I love and respect across all periods, mediums and movements of art.
All of this is just preparation and really has no time frame attached. Once I’m ready to formulate the plan and visualize what I want, and I’m ready to start out on the creative part of my process. This is my time to play and let the creative juices flow, working toward the ideas I formulated. The key to this is to let the plan flow, but not block your goals; the whole idea of the preparation is to discover an inspiration. Build a plan and make the preparations to succeed.
Again, this is my process; the planning and the previsualization of the final image give me a starting point. What I end up with may not always be what I thought I would get, but, because I started on the path with a plan, I get something I’m happy with. Most of the successful artists I know use some sort of plan to get started on the path to creativity. Something I truly believe in is this: success is when preparation meets opportunity.
Ric Deliantoni is a professional photographer and director with thirty years of experience, with a focus on still-life and lifestyle imagery for advertising, design and publishing. He has developed a unique style that has been described as impressionistic and bold. Ric has also spent much of his career teaching and mentoring students of all levels to better themselves as artists.