Written by Ella Pitt
For many, the arts and our creative pursuits are seen as an addition to life, a supplement rather than the main bulk. A decadent dessert not a staple carbohydrate. Nice to savour but nonetheless not absolutely necessary.
My flatmate who discovered an online shortage of paints and other art supplies prompted me to consider why so many are turning to creativity in this time of crisis. Perhaps it is time to reframe the way we think about creativity. We have developed to the extent that very little of what we do is solely guided by the pursuit of survival. This is easy to accept, but there’s still a general resistance to consider art, poetry, drama and dance on the same footing as science and mathematics.
I’d argue that, in reality, our relationships with creativity have an immeasurable impact on daily life. Perhaps art is less of dessert and more of a binding agent. It’s function might not be the most obviously essential but the way we turn to creativity to soothe ourselves is worth interrogating.
Social media will tell you that, whilst confined to our homes for the foreseeable future, we have become heavily dependent on creativity for comfort. As my housemates and I spent the weekend indoors, we were writing, drawing and embroidering. I don’t think our choice of activities was based solely on passing the time. I think, in reality, the needs that creativity caters to are amongst our most basic needs. Our needs for stimulation, emotional release and entertainment, if left unanswered for too long lead to burnout, depression and a complete lack of motivation.
Art, poetry, photography, stories and music are always there helping the cogs to keep turning but, now that life has slowed dramatically, it’s easier than ever to see and feel their importance.