Creativity, Craft And Being Different

Hey guys James here, and we’re back with #ThrowbackTuesday. This week I’m going back to Chase Jarvis.

I like people who marry creative energy with analytical power. They tend to be the people that get the most done.

Without creative energy, we are doomed to repeat ourselves, the culture will never grow. But without some level of analytical or processing power, great ideas remain just that: ideas.

I imagine if you meet Chase Jarvis in person he probably gives off a vital, alpha energy. He likes extreme sports, played college football – the whole deal.

But you can’t be a world famous photographer by just being brave and in love with adrenalin, as essential as these qualities are.

You have to have a sensitivity, a vulnerability and a sense of magic.

Chase Jarvis has all of these, but they are embodied in a very practical, workmanlike attitude.

I think what I took away the most from this interview was the struggle Chase had with his own creativity, and his sense of grief at having denied that part of himself for so long. As a man, and especially a sporty personality, it can be difficult to allow yourself to access this part of your nature.

Creativity is a scary business, and as a culture we tend to be suspicious of anyone who wants to start living the creative life from scratch.

Unless you show protege-like talent from an early age, you are going to find it hard to convince yourself and others that being a full time artist is a worthwhile pursuit.

Without the external validation of the thing you dream yourself of being, getting over that inner hurdle in order to live out that destiny, can be terrifying.

Chase said he spent years trying to live everyone else’s dream for himself, before he finally took up photography.

And this is coming from a confident, proactive and grounded human being. It’s not like he was suffering from neurosis.

It’s just that our culture’s relationship with creativity is so distorted and compartmentalised, it is difficult for us to embrace the dormant artist within us, no matter who we are.

But again, Chase’s idea of an artist is not someone with their head in the clouds. Who he is as a photographer and entrepreneur totally bursts that myth.

Chase insists that craft is essential. You have to know the fundamentals of your tools and your trade, you can’t just pick up an Iphone and hope for the best.This is a big question that hangs over all artists, and there’s definitely a spectrum of technical artists and expressive artists.

Without a solid foundation in your craft, your ideas will never be able to take flight. But then again, too many artists these days seem to get too easily obsessed with technique.

If all you judge your art by is technique then you lose vision, you can’t take your chosen field to new places.

Chase says a good photo must have both “raw stopping power” and offer the audience a chance to complete the narrative.

If you complete the circle for them, then the art loses its power.This is a genius way to sum up how an artist gets inside our head. If they are just driven to demonstrate technical prowess, they won’t invite us in, they won’t have the breadth of vision to allow the onlooker to play a part.

There are millions of photographers in the world, and given the advancement of modern mobile technology, we all have access to professional tools.

But as Chase says, what marks out the great artists from the amateur creatives is their unique perspective, a point of view that is dramatically new and different.

In this day and age, being a creative professional is harder than it has ever been. You have to cut through the noise of Instagram and social media.

There will always be someone with more technical skill than you. The challenge is to find your voice, and then cultivate a way of distilling that voice into works of art that stop people in their tracks.

In the age of the image, the stakes are high. But what I got from Chase is that we need to know ourselves, to have an intimate relationship with ourselves in order to know what it is that makes us different.Chase talks about his own journey around self-knowledge. Brian asks him quite a searching question about his drive, his constant need to up his game.

And Chase is surprisingly vulnerable here, even admitting that tackling this stuff is a relatively recent challenge for him.

A regular practitioner of Transcendental Meditation, Chase is no stranger to the difficult inner work we need to do to evolve.

He doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but he does provide other artists with some kind of template for how we create a life around our work.

Chase is a businessman, an artist and great conversationalist. I found this one of the most informative episodes on London Real, and if you are feeling stuck in any part of your life, this interview might just be inspiration you need.Whether you are an artist or not, are you creatively blocked? I’d be interested to know how you have put up barriers to your own creative energies, and how letting go of them might help you up your game in building the best you.

Leave me a comment below, it would be great to get a conversation going on this issue!

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Duncan ten Kate
Duncan ten Kate

Nice to hear my own thoughts back in the first video. I discover that whole idea about creativity when looking to Albert Einstein quotes. (which happens to have asperger autism too, like me.) Quotes from Albert Einstein: -The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. -Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere. -Imagination Is More Important Than Knowledge -If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” The biggest mistake of today is to give children… Read more »