Staying creative during hard times—and why it matters now more than ever

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Darya Jandossova Troncoso joins us on the blog today to share an insightful perspective on channeling creativity during difficult times, and why it matters now more than ever.

If we’re not creating anything when we’re suffering, there might not be anything tangible to look back upon.

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Row 1:
Olga,
Yana Chintsova,
Tristan Kromopawiro.

Art and creativity is something that unites us all. It spans across continents, generations, and millennia. As humans, we have been fostering our creativity long before we had language, and before we could express ourselves in any other way. Cave paintings, shell beads, and primitive statues morphed over centuries into masterpieces by the likes of Michaelangelo, Mozart, and Charles Dickens.

We don’t need to be Italian to marvel at the statue of David, or German to be overtaken by Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, or Russian to be stricken by War and Peace. Art, in its very essence, doesn’t belong to a nation—it belongs to the world and to all of its inhabitants.

We’re all united by creativity

While creativity means different things to different people, at its core, it’s a form of self-expression. In certain cases, it’s something very guttural and intimate. The creator is speaking to us through imagery or notes, sharing a very personal moment. We might not fully grasp it, but we are certainly aware of it—the revelation of something that normally stays hidden.

This shared experience acts as a unifier—the silent understanding which passes between the artist and the viewer. The artist might be long gone, but his art isn’t.

A connection between pain and art

Creativity can certainly take its toll—and while the debate regarding the suffering genius has finally been put to rest
, it’s still hard to look at the art created over the last few hundred years and not see the pain behind it.

Our ancestors have been through a lot. Pandemics, wars, oppression, and racial injustice just to name a few. One constant throughout it all has been art and creativity. It never ceased. It never died. The creators died, but their work still lives.

Interestingly enough, so much of art and what we call masterpieces today have been created during mass suffering.

Interestingly enough, quite a bit of art and what we call masterpieces today have been created during mass suffering. One possible explanation is that when everything is terrible, we feel compelled to create something beautiful and powerful. Art offers an escape from reality—and while this form of escapism isn’t always the healthiest, it is one way of dealing with trauma.

In a sense, if we’re not creating anything when we’re suffering, there might not be anything tangible to look back upon. At the same time, capturing what you’re feeling has a cathartic effect and acts as a stress reliever. This bit definitely hasn’t changed.

Why creativity matters

Art movements ebb and flow. They reflect what’s going on culturally and how people feel about the world and about themselves.

Creativity is driven by a variety of reasons, emotions, and feelings. It’s not always meant to express something happy or good—that’s not the sole purpose of art. We need to stay creative in spite of what’s going on around us and because of what’s going on.

Creativity is not always meant to express something happy or good.

If you’re angry, aim your anger and channel it through art—or writing, or something that won’t make you feel unseen and insignificant. Make your art loud, make it big, take it to the streets!

During times like these, when the change in the air is palpable, creativity can be expressed in plenty of different ways: through producing videos, painting murals, writing posts on Instagram—it’s still self-expression, it’s still valuable, and it’s still necessary.

Where to start

It’s often hard to create when you’re going through something. You might not have the willpower or the desire for it. It might be hard to pick up a brush, hold a pen, or even talk. Here are a few pieces of advice to help you get started regardless of the obstacle at hand:

  • Find someone who is also struggling: Connect with someone in your community and try working on something together. Collaborating with a peer can help tremendously when you don’t have the strength to create something on your own. You’ll inspire one another and push each other to create something meaningful together.
  • Create for yourself: For many, art is a support system when there’s no money, no prospects, and in some cases, no way out. The only way to survive is through art. It can sound extreme, but creating can often help us thrive amidst the worst of hardships. Regardless of the final output, create for the sake of yourself. Let it be your outlet.
  • Don’t stop: Creativity has no limit. It can’t be taken away because it lives inside of us. It can be squashed, but not ripped out. When you feel the urge to create something, no matter what is it, what format or medium, just do it. Do it when you’re tired, in the morning, at night, on the street, with your friends and by yourself. Do it when you’re sad, in love, angry. Don’t let anything stop you from creating.

Final thoughts:

Art can be scoffed at, ignored, ruined, spat upon, but it does not disappear—it stays there, relentlessly, coursing through our veins, and our bodies, and towns, and cities. Creativity makes us human. It gives us strength and connects us to the rest of the world. That’s nothing to scoff at. Create. Create. Create

About the author: Darya Jandossova Troncoso is a photographer, artist, and writer working on her first novel and managing two digital marketing blogs—MarketTap and MarketSplash. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and creating art.

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