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Soulful process of creating art explored

By Emily Lewson
On April 13, 2014

On Friday, April 11th, the fourth and final Salon at the Benton took place with a discussion entitled "Art and Soul: Reflection on the Creative Process." Ruth Buczynski moderated the evening by prompting Wally Lamb and Ray DiCapua. With some audience participation, the event provided insight on how to further connect with one's creative side.
The gathering of the three gave a full spectrum of ideas. Buczynski is a licensed psychologist and president of the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine (NICABM), focusing on mind-body-spirit medicine. Lamb is an established author-with multiple books on the "New York Times" best seller's list and selected for Oprah's Book Club-as well as a professor of creative writing here at UConn. DiCapua is an associate professor in the School of Fine Arts at UConn, whose art has been exhibited throughout the United States. Together, the three grant unique outlooks to further the understanding of the creative process.
To start the night and demonstrate how even their separate fields yield similar discourses when comparing creativity, Buczynski brought up the idea of being "blocked" or "in-the-zone." She asked the two artists whether they had any ritual to become creatively inclined.
DiCapua started, but sitting down, he simply could not find the words to express himself. So, DiCapua stood up, and suddenly the words flew out of him.
"Plans don't work. There is not a conscious ritual to get in-the-zone. It is just being aware of the process," DiCapua said, "Pay attention to yourself. Standing up helps my thoughts flow, and if I paid attention, I would've stood up before beginning. Creativity is the practice of hanging out with space, music, materials and yourself."
Although DiCapua did not see the rituals within his own artistic experience, Lamb lent more to the practice.
"I get up early. Do some physical exercise to get the juices flowing. Then I go home and [...] start my procrastination rituals," Lamb said. "I meander downstairs with a second cup of coffee. That's how I get to work."
Another intriguing question Buczynski asked was a description of what it feels like when the artists are in-the-zone. Both artists suggested that worldliness becomes inconsequential.
"I'm not tired and the internal things stop moving," DiCapua said. "I'm extremely curious about the thing I'm doing and I become curious about the person doing that thing-myself."
Lamb continued this thought with an example, "I was writing 'She's Come Undone,' [...] and I thought I'd been working for 20 minutes, but two hours had gone by. The story unfolding is more real than my real life."
DiCapua and Lamb's insights were enlightening. The discussion within the Benton's main gallery was an aesthetically pleasing experience and was heightened by the various artists in the audience who offered their own insights.

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