Creative Intelligence

Robert Genn

October 19, 2007

After stumbling around in this inbox for half a day, I realize
there are two main kinds of artists. Those who think it's all
about technique, methodology and process, and those who think
all you have to do is "wing it." The latter, sort of like
skydivers without benefit of parachutes, are all over the place
these days. Attitudes of "anything goes," "anybody can do it,"
and "I can do what I want as long as it has 'heart'" prevail.
While I'm a first-line advocate for intuition, just to make
things difficult I have to tell you there's something else we
need to think about. It's called "Creative Intelligence."

In our game, this brand of intelligence is as valuable as IQ is
to Ph.D. "CI" represents another kind of "knowing." Not
surprisingly, artists with a high CI know when to use their
intuition. Knowing when to jump may be the highest calling.

But folks in the high CI category also know when to go for the
nuts and bolts. It's been my observation that CI comes easily
to some--they seem to be born with it. Others have to work hard
to get it. Creative intelligence knows:

When to pause and rethink
When to dream different dreams
When to learn more about a subject
When to reject and restart
When to take a rest or shut down

The high CI artist also knows:
How to prime the pump
How to search and find
How to control the medium
How to let the medium control the art
How to accomplish specialized manoeuvres
How to coax ideas into crossbreeding

CI actually requires a long list that is custom made and held
close to the chest of the individual artist. Furthermore,
there's no known method of administering a CI test--except
perhaps realizing the outcome of self-anointed
"professionalism." But even that's too narrow. Peer approval
might be a more reasonable test. Or peer admiration. If there
ever was a test, covert peer admiration might just do the

Best regards,


PS: "It's all those years of cognitive learning and study that
lead to what many refer to as 'intuitive' painting, but they
forget the intellectual process that got them to the point
where painting became a fluid, natural act." (Coulter Watt)

Esoterica: Creative intelligence also involves the simultaneous
use of mind and spirit. Whether mind before spirit or spirit
before mind, retrofitting and deconstructing spirit is the
habit of our age. Perhaps the evolved CI guy is best at
thinking it out first, then making the leap of faith, then
covering tracks. "I throw a spear into the darkness. That is
intuition. Then I must send an army into the darkness to find
the spear. That is intellect." (Ingmar Bergman)