Episode 45 – Creativity

Does it take a visual artist to talk about creativity? Of course not but we tried anyway. Two hours on creativity, grafitti, tattooing, subculture, and you!

Creativity is actively implemented as a tool of capitalism or state power. Imaginative marketing campaigns, novel approaches towards consumer creation and control, new methods of surveillance, counter-intelligence, and endless other creative methods of control dominate our lives. As individuals, our capacity for creativity is marketed to us in specialized forms as hobbies, careers in marketing, fine-art and craft-making. Self-expression disrupts markets to open new ones. Street art succumbs to recuperation as radical imagery or so-called anti-establishment notions are stripped from walls and sold to art collectors. Punk aesthetics live on in Hot Topic and Paris Fashion Week.
Alternatives to our current situation are suppressed globally (often violently), and few alternatives or interventions have been creative enough to break away from the established or institutionalized norms. The tendency to intensify previously established approaches or ideology continues to cement into various forms of extremism and marginalized subcultures. Anarchist approaches towards facing the nightmare seem generally confined to largely unsuccessful tactics and strategies that often feel more spectacular than concrete. 
As a primarily self-taught artist, illustrator, and graphic designer, I certainly find value in being able to provide my own tools for expression or the capacity to create and market my own forms of visibility. Anarchist publishers, journalists and theorists offer creative alternatives to evaluating the world around us as it continues to unfold. 
Where does our capacity for truly creative alternatives or approaches towards living as anarchists lie? What value can or do we find in creating our own media that isn’t driven by capitalism or reflected in mainstream political outlets? Can DIY approaches to creating the world we exist in break away significantly from the status quo? 
Could it be that we aren’t pushing the boundaries of our own creativity enough to impact the things we strive to dismantle or overcome as Anarchists? How can we think more outside of the box in order to give more deeply subversive strategies more traction? To what extend should our focus be on creative self-interest within our own anarchist spaces, relationships and daily lives? How can we be creative critically as anarchists that doesn’t rely solely on subverting or negating what we are against?