Unleash Your Creativity
“I can be more creative not because I’m an artist, so whatever I do is creative. It doesn’t work like this.” Many people often talk to Alëna Olasyuk, “ I wish I could be as creative as You.” What Alëna Olasyuk thinks about Creativity?

PhotoAlëna Olasyuk

TextAlëna Olasyuk

Alëna Olasyuk
1988 born in Russia, Ukrainian citizen
now lives and works in Beijing

2014 graduated from Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, major in fashion media, Beijing, China.
2007 graduated from professional college, major in fine art, Khmelnitsky, Ukraine

▸Solo Exhibition
2021, Chiseling the light with ink, Venue, Taipei
2020, In Between, Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei
2016 Межа/грань/border, Khmelnitsky Region Art Museum, Ukraine
2016 Ink Mark, JuEr space, Beijing, China
2015 Complex Simplicit , Auto studio, Beijing, China
2015 The Calling , DARA gallery. Beijing, China
2014 Monochrome World, Kogo art gallery, Hangzhou, China
2014 Three Steps ,BIFT park,Beijing, China

Sky Art Foundation, Kiev, Ukraine
11 Gallery, Beijing, China
Cheng Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
Works held in private collections around China, Taiwan, Ukraine, France, UK, Italy, USA, Russia , Taiwan etc.

Are You Creative?
The topic of Creativity always was around me. 

As an artist and founder of a company I was often asked "Alëna, how did you start to do, what you do? How you found inspiration, how you come up with ideas, and if you always knew what you want?" or people looked at me with admiration in their eyes and saying, "I wish I could be as creative, I do a boring job."

Plus I had an experience in the education industry, where I saw that students are not very creative. And I wanted to understand why it is like this, and how I can help them.

Searching for related books, I concluded the problem, that despite the numbers of books and ideas that have been sharing knowledge about Creativity, I couldn't see anything that could answer the fundamental questions. Those books have explained a lot of how creative processes are made like combinations, restructure, and so on. Some books focused more on how to use some tricks to inspire creative ideas like walking on different paths, meditation, and other brain stimulations. Some books were about psychological traumas great artists had, so it seems like every creative person was a bit crazy. This is not true, by the way. (but this topic for another article)
These books didn't answer my fundamental questions: Why not everyone is creative? What stops people from being creative?

(No name 3, Chinese ink, Nib pen, Paper, 76x56cm, 2016)

I started my journey of understanding creativity around 4 years ago. I developed a little book about creativity to promote the school where I worked. That time I thought more about the creative processes such as a combination of knowledge, research, and focus. But it again didn't answer the basic questions. Then about 3 years ago I discovered the world of psychology. My journey in it started with personal therapy. At that time my therapist said "Alëna, after you heal up some of your traumas, there might be the possibility that you would stop doing your art." I didn't pay attention to it but was rather curious how it will turn out. 

After some time I changed the therapist and I found out that instead of stop doing my art, even with more inner healing I can be more creative. I can be more creative not because I'm an artist, so whatever I do is creative. It doesn't work like this. 

As an Artist, I'm creative in one field but other fields are unknown to me and I may have an individual relationship to it. 

For example, I tried to write but it was just unbelievably hard for me. I couldn't force myself to do it as much as I wished, and coming up with new ideas for writing was not easy. After exploring this frustration with writing, during the therapy and getting more knowledge about psychology-- I could see more clearly what exactly stopped me from writing more. 

Now, that's the reason why I'm approaching the topic of creativity from a more psychological point of view. Which finally could answer those fundamental questions.

(Pattern 9,  Chinese ink, Nib pen, Paper, 74 x 74 cm, 2019)

If we are all creative? Some people might think that on their basis they are not creative. Maybe those questions are relevant to me but not to the majority. And here I disagree. I'm pretty sure that creativity is not a skill that you can learn, but creativity is a basic thing that we all have. 

In psychology, they have one theory, that we contain in ourselves life experiences of every day/age of our life. So there is an early inner child, inner 10years old, inner teenager, inner 22 years old, and so on. Therefore, we have the potential to awake that inner kid in us. It is especially illustrative with the term, like an inner child (popular in psychology). This inner child shows some needs and frustrations even in our grown-up bodies. So then, why this child is there but he or she doesn't express creativity? What's happening with him?

Not many of us were encouraged to express creative and spontaneous behavior during our childhood, therefore everyone isn't allowing it to exist in our grown-up lives. We can see a similar idea of suppressing some behavior or feelings, for example, anger. Many people throughout their lives and in childhood, studied to suppress anger, hence they stop feeling it. They suppressed it because parents expressed that an angry child is an unloved child and parents didn't like an uncomfortable kid. It doesn't mean kids are not angry, they might be, but they might never allow the anger to appear or they allow the anger to appear just in certain situations. But this self emotional disorientation happens just until they go to therapy. 

Or sometimes we can have weird settings and ideas that were promoted in our society and family that led to ignoring certain feelings. For example, in Russian-speaking culture, we have sayings, that if you are very happy you are an idiot, or if you are laughing now then you are going to cry later. So people in these countries often go to a therapist with a request of not feeling happy and can't accept their accomplishments. It's not surprising to be afraid of being happy but being fine to complain while growing up. Those settings are or can be different in every culture or in every household. 

(Pattern 5, Chinese ink,  Nib pen, Paper, 29x29, 2020)

Similar idea with creative expressing. 
When you are not accepted with your creativity, but accepted by bringing a good mark on a math test, then you will tend to suppress creative need and cherishing something more functional like marks in math's test, as you will have that memory of acceptance when you obtained it. 

Therefore some people can't even find or don't pay attention to that inner curiosity and spontaneity to be creative. Or don't know that they even can be creative, or afraid to show that creativity.

Another issue is the high expectations and Fears that can be very different for everyone (shame, being rejected, not accepted, or even being successful …) And those concepts can be merged. High expectations of ourselves are very frequent situation that I meet. Often it hides behind a false impression of perfectionism and self-confidence. 

Once I met a guy, who wanted to become an artist, but after some time chatting with him, it emerges that he hadn't done any artworks, or even draft ideas, instead he was more concerned about the future masterpieces and how he would manage it - promote, deal with galleries, copyright issues. 

I told him that more likely after he will make that artwork he won't do anything with it, and if he needs to deal with at least one gallery to show it then he will be very very lucky. Because when you just starting, it is more likely will be not good work. 

But he afraid to face the reality and puts on himself so high expectations that he never starts to pursue them because if he has started to do that artwork he might meet the reality. The reality is that he has never done any art before, and he might be very very bad at it. But he is so unconfident to accept that, therefore it is easy to be a hero artist who is just looking for the right idea and trying to figure out how to promote an uncreated masterpiece. 

When we are starting something new, that we never tried before, we will be bad at it. Not because we are bad and not talented. No. 
Because it's just a start. 

(Abstraction 1, Chinese ink,  Nib pen, Paper, 105x74 cm, 2017 )

Creativity is creating something new and valuable. Something new to the industry, something that hasn't been done before or presented with a little different angle. Meanwhile, when you are creating something new you are also challenging your capabilities and skills. It's two ways of exploration of your abilities and your idea in the framework of market or society, which you have a risk to fail at some of it. Whether you will face your lack of skill or lack of knowledge about the industry. It’s risky and scary especially when you are just starting. 

And it's so scary because it's also about breaking your identity and your ego. 
With one little creation, you may destroy your identity of being a successful businessman or manager and became a loser artist, similar to a kid who is just studying and don't know something. And being a kid who made mistakes and undistinguished may awake some unpleasant feelings in him. These can be feelings of shame, rejection, the disappointment of your parents, and so on. 

But to go beyond these unpleasant feelings we need to grow bravery. 
Bravery plays an important role in creativity. 

I asked some of my friends in creative industries, in fashion, design, arts, and music. Is creativity a skill or act of bravery? Most of them said its bravery. Because many creative people will tell you that in their thinking there is not a lot of magic but their personal logic. And it's about bravery to start an idea and then present it to the world. 

(Truth 12, Chinese ink,  Nib pen, Paper, 35x35, 2020)

If you want to be creative, you need some bravery. To face yourself and others in your creative journey. And accept that, sometimes you are great, but not all the time.

Because when we present a Creative idea, we can't predict others' reactions. And that's why, we need bravery, bravery to face the uncertainty of reaction from others and ourselves. To be brave is not to fulfill expectations and maybe even disappoint yourself, people around you, and even your mother. 

When we understand this fear, we will also understand that even making something less creative that is expected from us and by us, we still won't be rejected and it won't define us as someone bad and unessential. Despite these, we will be loved, appreciated, and accepted by people who care about us. It’s just a process that finally can create great with consistency and mastering it. 

I'm not promoting bad work and be proud of shitty creativity rather start exploring something new. Because when we start to do something new there might be a risk of doing it badly. Similarly, if you never start, it might never happen. 

To start the journey of growing bravery, you might need a very tiny bit of it, just to admit that you lack it, you feel not a good start or doing something specific. Or even don't know what you want. 

Then, one way to get it is therapy. Another way is to create a support system from people around you, who are creative and independent thinkers. They can support you without judgment and inspire you with their works. If you don’t have people then books, blogs can help. 

While making one step at a time with fear, allowing yourself to be shamed, rejected, feeling bad while doing it, and continue. 

Every step we do is important to create a new experience which despite makes us feel bad but finally will show us that the world doesn't end there. No one has rejected you and you have people who like your painting, your idea, or your writing. And with this new experience, you can be more creative in more fields at a more confident level. 

(Suitble 3, Chinese ink,  Nib pen, Paper, 29x29, 2020)

In my case, I used therapy to face the fears. 

In therapy, I could talk about my writing and how I felt. I found that shame, and fear of being stupid (it's the core, but there was more to it though...). I always had the idea of myself being that smart lady but that identity could be destroyed by presenting a bad idea in my writing. So creating every piece of content was itself an inner battle, I was looking for inspiration that I never could find because my fear and high expectations were more than any inspiration. 

But after seeing those fears, and accepting that, and recognizing how stupid they were I started to write non-stop. Sometimes just recognizing what's stops us is not 50% of the solved problem but all 100%. 

Our emotional health influences our physical and mental abilities. It's been proven by many researchers that some traumas stick with our body and brain. And I'm not talking about hardcore trauma of physical and sexual abuse, but the trauma can be developed simply by ignorance of our feelings by a parent. Of course, there are so many different traumatic experiences we all faced if we have parents. (They say if you have a parent, better start to save money for therapy). 

This trauma sometimes helping us to move at a very fast pace (when the fear becomes the motivator and turns on the Run mode), but most of the time it stops us from our creative adaptation and development in this world. 

However, in a healthy personality where body, mind, and emotions are aligned, everything works together. Therefore we have a better level of adaptation, self-expression, and spontaneous behavior that give us more creative outcomes in whatever we do. Whereas, feeling of fear doesn't stop us from being creative. It still doesn't disappear, but it just doesn't stop. 

I believe that mental health will make one life not just better quality, but more self-fulfilling and became an action of non-stop self-expression.

(Fear 1, Chinese ink, Nib pen, Paper, 76x56cm, 2016)

If you want to be creative, you need some bravery. To face yourself and others in your creative journey. And accept that, sometimes you are great, but not all the time.

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