How can you embrace multi-creativity?

By June 15, 2013Creativity


Koldo at a drawing contest, 10 years old

How can you embrace the multi-creative side of you and not feel guilty about it? We all have heard the saying “Jack of all trades”. It implies that using your talent in different things is wasting it. But, at the end of the day, it’s nothing but a judgmental demagogic argument that dramatist Robert Greene wrote about his rival William Shakespeare to discredit him as a writer, pointing out that an actor couldn’t be also a writer. Ha!

When it comes to feeling guilty about multi-creativity, I can do nothing but speak for myself: it took me 45 years to accept that I’m a multi-creative person and there’s nothing wrong with that.

My father was a talented painter who used to copy art as a hobby, so it’s logical that at a very early age all the attention was on my drawing skills. I started taking art classes at 6 and I wanted to be Walt Disney. But, just like any other kid, I enjoyed being creative in as many ways as possible: writing stories, acting, making up games…

It was not until I was a teenager that I was conscious that  I loved to do so many different things: painting, drawing comics, playing music, publishing fanzines, writing stories and lyrics…

My teenage years were a very exciting time working with different types of artists. I mostly worked as a visual artist painting illustrations, comics and album covers, and got my first job at a design studio. But, at the same time, I also worked both professionally and as an amateur in numerous different creative activities: poetry, storytelling, crafts, sculpture, music, stage design, etc…

Then, at 22, I decided to pursue a career as children’s book illustrator. I forced myself to fit the market and consequently I burnt myself out as an artist and illustrator. The passion I used to feel for the work was extinguished and I felt sad and empty as never before.

I had always been mad crazy about music and for a long time I had been  involved in various music projects. So, for the next decade, I dropped the pencils and brushes to concentrate on music. I had the privilege of working with numerous excellent musicians on several projects of progressive, traditional, jazz and electronic music and I also produced a solo album with their help. It was a very exciting time! But all that glitters is not gold…

To convince myself that I was becoming a real musician, I completely buried my love for visual art and didn’t touch a pencil for years. I didn’t feel validated because I didn’t go to music school and that made me a very insecure person. For awhile,  I didn’t even want people to know that I used to be a visual artist. I thought exclusivity would give me extra points. Oh, how wrong I was!

There was no need at all to kill the artist side of me to become a better musician. There was no need to be ashamed about not having been a trained musician beginning when I was a kid in order to experience music. Because that’s what creativity is all about: the act of love for experiencing it. But took me many years to understand this.

All the time, society and media praise the success of artists in a particular creative field. But very rarely recognizes the value of multi-creativity. Is a fact that most renowned artists are knowledgeably creative in other activities, but they’re not usually recognized for it. Robert Greene’s sentence keeps hitting us in our society: “stay in one parcel or you will lose the gas”. The social and political system wants a world of specialized workers who can only be good at one thing and can be easily controlled. And it seems that nobody wants to be surrounded by people who change and evolve.

Did you ever feel your friends and family turn their backs on you when you discovered a new side of you?

It’s easier to have our friends labelled, so we don’t need to wonder about their eventual eccentricities. We don’t like surprises. We want them to fit the reality that we have created for them. But this way, at an early age we are all denying our human essence to be curious creatures, to explore life, to be creative and transform and grow along with the universe.

Thanks to my wife Naomi, I discovered and recovered my passion for visual arts. With her support, I started exploring very different styles and subjects as an artist and illustrator. Then, again, I hit the same wall: publishers, agents and artist friends would keep telling me that my portfolio was too diverse. They thought I was making their job to sell my work too difficult. I regretted that I had been so experimental; that it was not a clever decision for my career. So I tried to be a good boy and stick just to one thing. And once again, it turned into frustration, disillusion and sadness, because my eagerness to explore was always bigger than my wish to fit the mold.

Early this year, Naomi and I talked about many things related with our values and inner being. She happened to go through a similar frustrating experience for the last few years, after having worked as a web and graphic designer, UX designer and conversion optimization consultant. We were very fortunate to have each other and be in the same page when it comes to growing together.

So for the last years we thought a lot about what multi-creativity means to us. We realized it was time to quit feeling  guilty of having an itch for different creative trades and we decided to embrace multi-creativy. We gave ourselves permission to experience creativity at it’s full dimension. And we thought we could also help other people like us by creating tools and techniques to promote multi-creativity. We imagined TRIO: an Idea Book System that helps to use your creativity in three different areas. Then a new epoch started for us: Epokka was born.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Tzaddi says:

    Oh Koldo, thank you for sharing this. I have had similar negative thoughts about the diversity of styles and activities I’ve enjoyed. I’ve been coming to a point of acceptance with it more recently. It’s reassuring to know that you’ve struggled with it too because I admire your and Naomi’s work so much.

    Wishing you much success with Epokka!

  • Koldo says:

    Thank you. Tomorrow you will be sharing your own experience too and it will inspire other people too.

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