Born or bred to be an artist?
Recently I read a BBC article about how artists’ brains are actually structurally different, compared with non-artists’ brains. Participants’ brain scans (full research report here) revealed that artists had increased neural matter in areas relating to fine motor movements and visual imagery. But the authors reported that training and environmental upbringing also play crucial roles in their ability. As in many areas of science, the exact interplay of nature and nurture remains unclear, and this article focused more on the physical, biological aspect of the brain, not the nurture and upbringing aspect of their artistic capabilities. Nor did it mention where artists get their inspiration, their creative visions for their art, which is what we all really want to know, isn’t it?
As an artist, this article did made me think about my upbringing and how it may have shaped and strengthened those neural connections. My parents always encouraged my sisters and me to develop our creative outlets. We played outside, a lot, had music lessons (with varied success: I lasted longer with the violin and later guitar than my sister with her flute), and played sports. When I look at my two sisters and me, you can say we all spent time (or still do) in creative fields: one is a Chef with her own Bizou Creative Catering business, and my youngest sister used to be a hairdresser for over 10 years and has a passion for decorating her home. I have my own jewellery company and this pastel art passion.
As far as I know, we were all encouraged equally, but obviously we ended up in completely different industries, and even countries eventually. I believe everyone can create art if they want to, and develop the technical skills to most mediums, be it paint, draw, sculpt, write, photograph or film. It just takes time and dedication. Brad (my husband) is a talented photographer, but he had never drawn anything in his life, other than straws. Yet, when he gave it some time and took some classes, his painting skills are now quite impressive! So I believe that yes, maybe some of us got a head start (pun intended!) with extra grey matter connecting visual imagery with hand-eye coordination, but without putting in the practice, nobody is born an artist.
What is your creative outlet? And do you think creativity is ingrained in your biology or taught to you from a young age? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until then, I better get to painting a new pastel, I have some wonderful ideas percolating in my brain at the moment!