Are Computers Stunting Creativity?

This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about for a while, but I’ve never actually put my thoughts into words. With that in mind I figured I would give it a go and see if anyone else had similar thoughts or opinions.

Creativity comes in a number of different forms and is unique to every individual, whether it be through the use of sketching, words, painting, knitting, sand sculptures or make believe. When we’re young it’s automatic! It’s what we do in the playground, when we write in our school notebooks, when we read stories with our teachers or perform the Christmas nativity.  We spend our whole time using our hands, or bodies, to create things, and a lot of us take those skills and talents we learn into later life.

I am a writer. I love to write. I could spend hours writing, or well trying to write. Do you know what I should call myself? A typer. I type. Before this morning I cannot remember the last time I picked up a pen and wrote down my ideas and then expanded on them. Writing, for me, has become sitting at a laptop and pressing keys. I am fairly sure when I was trying to write this morning my letters were going in the directions that the keys were on the keyboard. I made so many mistakes writing letters that weren’t letters at all. But in my head the ‘P’ was up there so that’s where my pen went.

I definitely can’t remember the last time I drew something. I used to LOVE drawing. I could knit, I could crochet. I have tons of notebooks, sketchpads and bits and pieces from when I went through a jewellery making phase a few years ago. I haven’t touched any of it. And honestly? I’m sure it’s got something to do with the computer. 

Not just the computer but that desire to constantly be on the internet. And do you know what I spend time doing? Reading DIY ideas, and watching “how to” videos. I spend my time looking at other people’s masterpieces without making any of my own. In my head I want nothing more than to do something with my hands and I honestly believe I’m not the only person.

A recent trend I’ve noticed, particularly among artists, is the increase in the amount of drawing tablets people are purchasing. Yes, computer graphics could be viewed as a new art form, but I think people want to be using the mouse less, and instead let their hand and stylus do the work. So they draw onto something that combines the two worlds.

I can’t blame people for getting attached to the internet. It can give you a lot of ideas and motivation to create things you hadn’t thought of before, and that's brilliant! (Seriously, Pinterest is amazing for ideas). But that’s all it gives you. IDEAS. Ideas are all well and good but unless you’re doing something with them are you really making any difference? Not just in the creative industry but also in politics, family and businesses.  I believe it’s the same reason we still hang art on our walls or go to galleries. Or why people still collect books and not just have e-readers. Or CDs for the booklet art, not just downloading the MP3/4. We want to be able to look at something in real life, not through a screen. When you create something on a page or on a stage you are creating an original and this original cannot have the same impact when viewed on a screen. In 100 years’ time, who will be travelling to another country to see a portrait on a tv screen?

What would you admire more? The 6 foot tall marble statue created with a man’s hands. Or the man that designs it on a flat screen and then has a 3D printer create it? I’m not saying its not equally as impressive, but to me a handmade object makes me admire the creator and the artwork. The 3D printed object makes me admire how far technology has come over the years, not the actual artwork itself, or the creator. I’m not denying that the graphic creator has probably put in a lot of design work, but probably so has the man using his hands. And yes, computers can give you tools you might not otherwise have access to, but are you familiar with your materials? Do you need these tools or could you learn to create the same thing without them? If we had an electrical wipe out, would you still be able to create your masterpiece?

So are computers stunting creativity? In my opinion, yes. I think we spend less time creating and more time wishing we were creating. Laptops, the internet, should be tools for research before you come away to create your masterpiece. I miss the days in school where you used a pen, paper, and glue rather than a keyboard and screen and I think, in the future, I’m going to endeavour to step away from the screen more often when I want to create something.

But I would love to hear what you think! I’m very open to discussion and I’m sure people view it as different and will be more impressed with the computer designed object but if you do then tell me why! 

Thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments below!



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