Throughout a creative process it is the innermost creative parts of our brain we try to reach and exploit.

But what are those parts exactly. Are they a manifestation of our unconscious mind? Or of our deepest thoughts and desires? 

 

Perhaps.

I suggest taking a different perspective on our creative mind.

We can recognize elements of the creative process in the manner that we solve everyday problems, even those that are not necessarily artistic in nature. But they present us with an opportunity to find a creative way to solve them.

The way I see it, there are two principal paths by which we can approach a problem that requires an innovated solution.

The subconscious reaction and the instantaneous one (of course we sometimes blend those two options together).

The first creative path starts with an unconscious thought that manifests into an idea. It is then carefully planned and laid out, the thought process behind it could take days, weeks and sometimes years to perfect. The smallest elements are constantly under scrutiny and the result is well polished. The initial idea comes from a brain that is constantly (even unconsciously) trying to solve a problem(s). 

Our brains are experts in approaching such tasks in this manner. Babies are the best example, they learn constantly through doing, but, more importantly they learn as they sleep, when their unconscious brain processes the data received while it was awake, conscious. Then upon waking, they try the task again, comprehending what they did wrong, how they can change their approach and perfect the result.

This creative patch finds a solution through a combination of an unconscious and conscious processes.

When we observe an adult in that process it is a bit more hidden, but it is there. We use our conscious thoughts to produce something tangible with our conscious mind and physical actions.

For adults moments of serenity, peace or generic tasks, produce junctures where the subconscious or unconscious connect dots and produce solutions and ideas.

This is a process that can stretch over long periods of time - finds an answer for every question and fits all the pieces together as neatly as possible.

The end result is a polished masterpiece (or as close as the individual skill set allows).

The second creative path is the moment when you have to think on your feet, Off-The-Cuff, swiftly generating a response. We take this approach most often as reaction to something unexpected a resilient recalculation.

This instantaneous moment of creativity comes with its own frame - a context with which you cannot temper - but that frame, I believe, allows a powerful creative moment to occur, one which I propose most people don't take advantage of.

 

This creative moment derives from an unexpected paradigm shift, a new set of rules and expectations that require actions that must be adapted to, immediately.

In this paradigm you have only your personal knowledge and experience to rely upon. There's no time to conjure something well thought through. Therefore, you are compelled to use your knowledge as a foundation for innovation.

Allow me to present a more visual example of this second manner of creation:

Imagine yourself as a prehistoric man (or woman), foraging in a deep, thick forest. Around you the birds are chirping and a slight breeze rattles the leaves. You walk on a muddy path alongside a river.

Suddenly, a tiger emerges from the bushes with her cubs. She huffs at you ready to pounce. With no time to think, you have to act as quickly as possible, with only your own knowledge as a guide. You might try to throw mud in her eye to blind her as you escape. You might try to climb a tree, defend yourself with a big stick or branch and wave it at the tiger, or jump in the river and let the current drag you away from danger.

In any case, the action you decide to take comes from the foundation of survival skills you acquired throughout your lifetime. The way we use them quickly and in a creative manner is something that happens instantaneously, in that moment. I believe that in that moment alone, there is something very unique that occurs. When you have no time to think your mind and body respond without conscious thought, producing a moment of instinctive creativity.

I believe this kind of creativity doesn't happen in any other way - it requires a very small window of time and immediate "danger".

Musicians ,are almost always given a known framework, and more importantly they are given time to perfect their art and creativity. 

It's true that when musician improvise they are supposed to lose themselves in the moment and reach a more impulsive level of creativity, but I propose that even here we consciously fall back on our habits and revert to what we have previously done and our past experiences.

We tend to move towards our comfort zone and we use the same or similar patterns we used a day, a month or years ago.

In order to break these habits we need to introduce ourselves to a completely new paradigm.

I am looking for the moment when artists - in this case musicians are confronted with an unknown framework that will help them tap into their most instinctively, creative self. I will try to bring them to the point, where instincts overcome premeditated thought. A point in time that produces a reaction based on their prior knowledge and experience but lacks the active decision making process and relies more on instincts. I will attempt to bring them into that prehistoric man / woman's fight or flight moment. 

And so I've created Off - The - Cuff, a body of musical ventures with which I endeavor to reach the deepest embedded instincts of creativity within the artist.  

I hope you enjoy the result as much as I enjoyed the process.

Experiment I