Making Space for Creativity: Niche Construction and the Artist's Studio release_gqnbxrxv4rerliv44vvcvkwwrq

by Jussi A Saarinen, Joel Krueger

Published in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism by Oxford University Press (OUP).

2022   Volume 80, p322-332


<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> It is increasingly acknowledged that creativity cannot be fully understood without considering the setting where it takes place. Building on this premise, we use the concepts of niche construction, scaffolding, coupling, and functional integration to expound on the environmentally situated nature of painters' studio work. Our analysis shows studios to be multi-resource niches that are customized by artists to support various capacities, states, and actions crucial to painting. When at work in these personalized spaces, painters do not need to rely solely on their "inner" powers of imagination, memory, decision making, and technique to execute their paintings. Instead, with the help of carefully selected resources, they can offload elements of creative mentation and action onto the studio niche and enact different forms of a creative agency. To put more flesh on these ideas, we examine how painters use (1) existing artworks, (2) memory aids, and (3) music to scaffold the creative process. Overall, our analysis illuminates underexamined aspects of environmentally situated creativity and demonstrates the broader utility of the applied concepts for future creativity research.
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