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Bound by CreativityHow Contemporary Art Is Created and Judged$
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Hannah Wohl

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226784557

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226784724.001.0001

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Experimentation and Emotion: Developing Distinctive Creative Visions

Experimentation and Emotion: Developing Distinctive Creative Visions

(p.43) Chapter 3 Experimentation and Emotion: Developing Distinctive Creative Visions
Bound by Creativity

Hannah Wohl

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines how artists make aesthetic decisions during the creative process, tracing a cycle of experimentation. It shows that artists’ perceptions of their creative visions arise through the process of experimentation, rather than being determined in advance and then straightforwardly executed. Artists conserve time and materials during the creative process by making “low-stakes experiments,” such as sketches and models. Artists judge these experiments as worth pursuing or abandoning depending on whether or not they view those elements as meaningfully related to their creative visions. They attend to their emotional responses to these experiments. Artists pause in their production of works when they feel ambivalence. They repeat elements that elicit excitement and recognize repeated elements as part of their creative visions. As they repeat certain elements, they develop “creative competencies,” or improved predictions of material results. These creative competencies can eventually lead to boredom, due to the lack of surprise in producing repeated elements. Artists stop producing elements with which they become bored, regenerating a search for new elements and causing their creative visions to evolve.

Keywords:   artistic practice, ambivalence, boredom, creative process, experimentation, emotion, excitement, materiality, style, uncertainty

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