CREATIVITY. Ideas and Information sort by British Artist Andrew Carnie.

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hi

I am Andrew Carnie, a British artist. I often work with scientists on matters neurological to produce work. I am currently working on a project, with a grant from the Arts Council UK on epilepsy and creativity, with Paul Broks a neuro-psychologist from Plymouth in the UK, author of a well-reviewed book Into the Silent Land, dealing with some of the lives of some of the patients he has worked with.

The project involves me talking to patients and collecting information and views from them and where as I can from any other sources. In the UK I will be working in the Plymouth area, where I have contacts through Dr Adam Zeman and Neuro Psychologist Paul Broks.

Having looked at the Coping With Epilepsy Site and found it very interesting I wonder whether any one in a forum can help me?

For this project I am interested in how people that suffer from Epilepsy put their epilepsy into creative use. There is a view that many very creative people have had epilepsy and this has added to their creativity or been the cause of it. Many people with epilepsy seem to take up creative pastimes with vigor.

Can people and do people with epilepsy make use of their seizures to be creative?

Or is it the general condition that makes them think differently and be creative?

Has epilepsy given people visions that they turn into creative works?

Has epilepsy changed their perception of the world and themselves?


I am interested in people’s views on this. Any practical examples of how epilepsy might affect creativity would be good.

You might have personal experience? You might think my questions are framed in the wrong way? Any comments would be helpful.

I am just looking for ideas and people’s experiences of creativity and epilepsy, I suppose particularly Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. I usually make large installations involving projection, slide and video, in my work and I suspect this is what I will be doing on this occasion. I will not be using anything that anybody says or writes directly in the work. I am more interested in a general understanding of what goes on with epilepsy and creativity that will then feed into my work.

Any correspondence with members of the Coping With Epilepsy site will be held by me and me alone. I will use this information to feed my ideas for the works of art I am going to produce. No quotes or other information will be used directly in the work. The art works produced will be owned by me at the end of the project and I will try and get the work exhibited as much as possible. I will post images of the work produced on the Coping With Epilepsy site. The Arts Council of England are funding the project to a small degree. This funding covers costs for production of the work of art and no more. The value of the work will be widening the perception of Epilepsy, raising its profile to the general public, the art going public and artists themselves.

The work is due to be shown as part of a wider review of my work at the City Space Winchester, UK, in 2009 and then at Peninsular Art Gallery, Plymouth, UK, in 2010. This is the start; if it is like other works I have produced they then get picked up by curators and are then shown more widely nationally and internationally in galleries and museums. Works I have made have been shown in design museums like that in Zurich, science museums, the Science Museum in London, in the Natural history Museum in Rotterdam at Amnesty International Headquarters etc. etc. I hope to complete the work by mid 2009.

Some of my work can be seen on my web site http://andrewcarnie.co.uk or you can do a general Google search for ‘Andrew Carnie Artist’ and come up with quite a lot of material.

Please contact me through this forum.

Many thanks

yours sincerely

Andrew Carnie
 
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alivenwell

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Imagine that all your friends can go to school without special treatment, but you are set aside. And, you know you're just as smart as other people.

Imagine that all your friends get to drive a car, but you are totally reliant upon others for transportation.

Imagine that your primary sources of entertainment are your own methods...walking everywhere, reading a lot of books, playing a musical instrument, writing music of your own, drawing (I'm sure you can relate), or whatever you like as an individual. Most of these methods are restricted to one location. It takes creativity from the onset of epilepsy to try to maintain a good quality of life.

Instead of the usual American right of driving at 16 years of age, you get to follow a different path in life. Of course, the operant psychological conditioning will cause you to think and behave differently. I found that I actually have a pretty high quality of education due to my self motivation (not always encouraged by others). My strong will and my individual interests, especially in the more creative areas like art, have made me more self disciplined. My strong will to keep my job and do high quality work has provided others with a different perception of people with epilepsy. Nobody holds me back.

Frustration can bring out the best creativity in all of us. And, that leads us to pursue an individual rather than conventional path.

Personally, I find art and music very therapeutic. I love to draw. I go into my own world when I create my own drawing. It is a comfort zone that existed when I was a little kid. I have an extensive collection of a wide variety of artwork. I love to visit art museums. I find that I easily pick up on musical patterns which help me identify specific composers. I am usually 99% correct. I have an extremely extensive musical collection. And, ironically, I am somewhat technical. I have no idea why I love art. I just do. It could be that I developed that area of my brain more than the average person through techniques such as plasticity.
 
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alivenwell

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In response to that video, I know a person who is totally deaf who became an English major and mastered poetry. He sold me his calculus book.
 

RobinN

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That was beautiful Bernard. Thanks for sharing it.
I am sited, I do not have epilepsy, but I know my heart aches when I do not create.

My daughter who has a seizure disorder, has always been creative in a different way. She is an artist of movement. Since the early age of approximately 3, she was sharing her gifts with all of us. She continues now at the age of 16, and will most likely include it in her future career.
 

tinasmom

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I was lucky enough to meet John and his wife at the Epilepsy Leadership conference in Dallas. His story moved me so much, I was in tears along with many others.
 

Meetz1064

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oooooooooo,

my GOODNESS. That touched my heart. My oldest son was watching over my shoulder, too, and was TOTALLY amazed........WOW.........


In response to your question, Andrew..........I do a lot of different things.... but I definitely CANNOT draw. I can play a number of different instruments, sing all 4 parts in the choir, and I write books. But I don't have TLE.........I have Tonic Clonics......
 
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I have been reading all the very interesting responses so far to my post on Creativity. There have been more responses in such a short time than I thought there would be.

It seems to me that there is a drive to be creative to find solace in what is a difficult world.
I am a fan of Anthony Storr, the British psychiatrists, book The Dynamics of Creation and how he suggests that creative people use their creativity to in a sense balance the world, become normal and stable and make the world bearable when they may have really difficult underlying mental disorders.

I am still quizzical as to where the creativity comes from and when it develops, is it a general state of being, do ideas come before or during a seizure?

John Bramblitt mentions visions I wonder when he has these. Maybe I will try and contact him.

This is all feeding into my views on seizures and epilepsy and will I am sure come out in my work at some point.

Many thanks Andrew
 

alivenwell

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Epilepsy is defined as a physical disorder. It can accompany or not accompany a mental disorder.

I know creative people without epilepsy. Why are they creative? Was their environment or heredity responsible for the creativity?

Do drugs account for unique viewpoints?
Does different social treatment account for unique viewpoints?
Does physical confinement against one's will account for unique viewpoints?

The answer(s) to any of these questions can vary from one individual to another individual. Why are some people introverted and others extroverted?

A seizure is such an incredibly unique and individual experience. It would be really difficult to equate that experience with anything else. The different types of seizures may dictate the variation in creativity across a sampling of a population with epilepsy.
 

Bernard

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I am still quizzical as to where the creativity comes from and when it develops, is it a general state of being, do ideas come before or during a seizure?
There are many different types of seizures. Some involved impaired consciousness and some involve complete loss of consciousness.

In addition, many AEDs have strong secondary effects (ie. side effects) on cognitive functioning - from memory to mood regulation.
 

alivenwell

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How does one measure creativity?

If we knew of historically creative people who were not taking any medication and tried to compare them to creative people taking medication, how would we know or measure if a seizure, medication, wealth, or some other environmental/psychological condition accounted for their creativity?

There would have to be measurable characteristics.

Is measurement done by quality or quantity?
 

RobinN

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My daughters creativity came prior to her seizure disorder. Very evident at the age of about 2-3 yrs.
Medication took her creativity away.

My creativity came prior to migraine activity, and medication only made me want to sleep.
 
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Hi

Yes I realise all this it is a tricky area to navigate and to extract what affects what.

What I was interested in is people’s personal responses what has happened to them and their thoughts on creativity in relation to epilepsy. I teach fine art and graphics in a UK art school and one thing is certainly apparent is that we have a high level of students that suffer from 'dyslexia' in one form or another, much, much higher than the normal population. This is certainly true for teaching staff too!

Yours Andrew
 
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As far as Dyslexia goes, my husband is dyslexic and several family members have dyslexia. None of them have a creative bone on their body that I have ever seen, but they all have one thing in common. They are all very exceptionally good at something. My husband is an excellent mechanic. He can take a car apart and put it back together in no time, and most likely can tell you what is wrong with your car just by listening to it. Other family members with dyslexia excel in other areas just as well. So it would make sense to me at least, that there are most likely a lot of people out there with dyslexia that are exceptionally talented artistically.
As far as myself being artistic, part of my job involves graphic design. I also write poetry, but only consider myself mediocre at best with my writing. All of my creativity was there before seizures, and I've found that since I have been on medication, I'm often too tired to be creative and sometimes have to struggle at my job.
 

boolscott

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My interests in art have increased

Hi there

I had the tip of my left temporal removed. I'm an electronic engineer student. I've definitely become more interested in art, particularly dark/quiet art. Vermeer and Rembrandt style paintings, 90% nothing photos, really simple music. I have my doubts that it's the lobotomy that caused the interest, but hey, you never know.

scott
 

Cinnabar

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Welcome Andrew, I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy two years ago. Years prior I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder then DID "Dissociate Identity Disorder". There is research being done exploring correlation between the three. It might be that my two psychological disorders are in fact based on having Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. All neurological.

I've always been creative: writing verse and prose as well as illustration. People with Bi-Polar and Dissociative Conditions are known for having creative gifts. I'm just understanding that having Temporal Lobe Epilepsy is a major player in this arena. The whole matter of the three being inter-related is confounding to say the least but a source of fascination to me. It would be even if I wasn't saddled with the three. Laurie

Here are a couple of links:

http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2004/ph1131.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/1993/10/12/science/in-the-temporal-lobes-seizures-and-creativity.html
 
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