Beyond Genius, Obsession and Patronage: Technology and the Enabling of Creativity in the 21st Century

Dr. Robert L. Schrag
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This paper is rooted in the premise that artistic creativity is a trait shared, at least in some degree, by all humans. The work then explores the ways in which the intellectual and commercial marketplaces have systematically – through variations on a basic patronage system – restricted access to methods of artistic expression and distribution to artists who are either extremely gifted, truly obsessed, or both. The result is an environment of the arts that excludes the creative expressions of most of humanity. The paper concludes with an argument that, for the increasing numbers of people to whom such tools are available, artistically enabling software – music, graphic, video, etc., - has the potential to liberate the artist locked within us all. The paper further argues that the digital distribution and marketing systems made possible by the Internet have the potential to reconfigure the art marketplace by allowing “citizen artists” access to audiences and customers formerly reserved for artists vetted by a small cadre of agents, gallery owners and experts.

Keywords: Creativity, Technology, Digital Media, Marketplace, Artist, Patronage
Stream: Art in Communities, Constructing Art Worlds, Arts Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Beyond Genius, Obsession and Patronage

Dr. Robert L. Schrag

Professor, Department of Communication, North Carolina State University
Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Dr. Schrag has been teaching university media and technology courses for 30 years. During that time he has continued to pursue his own interests in writing, photography, sculpting and drawing. In 1994 he taught the first Internet Web Site development course at NC State. Since that point in time he has continued to explore, as both a scholar and practitioner, the evolving relationship between digital technology and personal creativity. He has just begun offering a new university course, Digital Expression, in which students use relatively inexpensive digital tools [Apple's iLife Suite and Photoshop] to explore new structures and languages for personal creative expression.

Ref: A06P0460