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Review: The Creative Process: A Film by Ryan Garry

The Creative Process: A Film by Ryan Garry
at A Small Cinema. Sunday, 31 January 2016.

* There will be a further screening at Frederik’s, Hope Street on Wednesday 16 March 2016 at 19.00. There’ll be some clips beforehand from an interview with Brian Patten as well.

Words by Patrick Kirk-Smith

The Creative Process sets its story through a selection of quotes that any art student, young or old, has seen or read throughout their practice, and their education. It is familiar, and tells a story you may have heard before, but frames it in a way you haven’t.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up” – Pablo Picasso

The film relies heavily on that famous quote, and it probably should. The subject is a very cleanly formed cross-section of the arts, and therefore perhaps only really shows one side of a story, but it’s a side of the story which helps to form the opinions of most artists on some level, as it is the side we are taught first. The side which is told to us during our teenage years as we aspire to become an adult in the correct manner – you can be an adult through and through, or a creative one and cling on to a piece of what you are – and that is very appealing to a teenager, and it becomes appealing again in middle life, and as a result, we have artists who seek to find that open way of thinking which is too often only found in children.

In many ways that quote is important, on the other hand, the creative process is one that can often be incredibly mature, and contextualised beyond reason. This film sits at the process end of that spectrum, within the realms of artists who create for the sake of emotion and story-telling. Interestingly, many of the interviewees have teaching backgrounds, or are involved in teaching. These are not artists looking to shock, these are artists looking to create new artists or to develop sympathies with existing ones. And in that circle, a Picasso quote is fairly unavoidable.

There are an almost overwhelming number of artists being interviewed over this forty minute film; fourteen in all. And if you do the maths that’s two minutes and forty-eight seconds per artist. If you want to get on board with this film, don’t go in expecting to come out understanding their practices in full. This is a compact example of why the creative process is exciting (both to the artist and the audience), and its takes that sample swiftly. That is what makes this such an accessible film. It doesn’t look to challenge, it simply summarises, and reminds us of the facts; art is life; art is learning; art is sacred; art is simple; art is process.

Simple enough statements, but ones artists often forget. Regardless of where they ended up, most artists took the same path. Not formally, but spiritually. Artists find an understanding of their world, and spend the rest of their life trying to define it and share it. The artists in this film are no different. From Sophie Lees’ discovery of a new life to Frank Lund’s delivery of creative thinking in public settings, this film explains on a very understandable level that art only exists to be understood, and that it is a public responsibility to give it a chance.

The film is currently touring Liverpool with new dates and venues being announced shortly, but made its first home at A Small Cinema in January. Wherever this film tours next though, it is worth seeing. This film helps to break down barriers between artist and audiences, and will hopefully continue to reach new audiences with that in mind.

Creative Process Website