Creativity is essentially very individual so why wouldn’t you trust it? This might be interesting only to me because of my current perspective, but the more conversations I have with creative people the more I think its not.
Creative people are ideas people; they find solutions, see the world differently, invent and imagine things into reality. Often ideas churn over quickly; you are practicing your art, in whatever discipline, daily. In the early days as you find your style and aesthetic you just have to make, as much as possible in fact, until from out of it all starts to emerge you and your style. So why wouldn’t you trust that?
The nature of creativity is that your work is also you, its personal. Deeply. Getting feedback or opinions at an early stage can be intense. Rejections from funding applications; a loss at a battle battle; low ticket sales for your work; are all tough to deal with. There are moments when we all think it must be easier for everyone else, that your style isn’t right or that maybe you should do something else. Being creative takes courage.
For most creative people, the option to not be creative is pretty much not an option. It’s something I often discuss when coaching – because if you don’t trust your creativity, it’s a question you have to ask.
Looking back over my career so far there have been a few people or experiences that helped me learn to trust in who I am and what I create.
The first, Rosemary Butcher my choreography teacher for four years at Surrey Uni. Quite simply, she just got me. I dreamed ideas, movement and choreography and she gave me a foundation of how to make those ideas a reality. Crafting my own process even when I had no confidence in doing so. RIP Rosemary, your lessons in choreography were lessons in life. Thank you for believing in my ideas and in me. I treasure that.
The second was hip hop culture. So, not a person but a movement. For me, hip hop culture literally breathed life back into me. I was in a vulnerable place in my life in my 20s and it was the celebration of individuality in hip hop and the sense of community that saved me. Working with Jonzi and the team on the founding years of Breakin’ Convention I started to find myself and learn the importance of self expression. Hip hop contained all my values of community, of expression, excellence and sharing to uplift everyone. Learning to Break with Pervez, one of London’s old school B Boys was an extension of that. Through his teachings I learnt even more about myself, his joke about my ‘gangly’ style led him to find movements that suited my personality. I’ve always trained and pushed myself physically, but breaking, and breaking with Pervez, is about so much more than that. The power of the circle is spiritual and when you enter it you not only honour it, but yourself. Style, foundation and your character is an art. When you get down in the circle there is only you and the music. There’s a truth, liberation and vulnerability in that moment. Plus its fun. In breaking I have laughed and cried, hurt myself and grown as a person. I recently came back to breaking and I’ve realised how much I lost when I stopped. Do you. Break your mould and start at 100%.
The third was a conversation with Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury. In 2007 I was awarded a fellowship on the Clore Leadership Programme and he was the Director back then. As I said, I had tapped into my core values of community and unity and had a strong sense of the work I wanted to create, but didn’t see examples of it. I didn’t know what it looked like or how it could exist. Chris called me out in a way, in his eyes it was simple, do you on your own terms, create Kate’s way and just do that.
So that’s really what I have been doing. Working out what it means to do it in a Kate way! The one thing I do know about creativity is that you have to trust it. You can’t imitate anyone and be fulfilled. Now I know me, and what I represent, I take me everywhere! There is a lot that I don’t know and I’m happy to learn, make mistakes and collaborate. However, now I am clear about my purpose in the world, I can’t compromise on that at all.
Mark Twain said there are two important days in your life; the day you were born and the day you found out why. Your ‘why’ will be different to mine, and different to your friends. The beauty in the world is that there is space for us all. Trust your creativity. Trust yourself. Be you and do you, it makes you unforgettable and it makes your impact on the world truly the best you can do.