Art disruption and your inner critic with Steve Chapman

Steve Chapman is an artist, writer and speaker interested in creativity and the human condition. He has spoken around the world on creativity and worked with many individuals and organisations to help them liberate their creative spirit.

As an artist, Steve has sold his work across five continents and exhibited alongside the likes of Pablo Picasso and David Shrigley. He is visiting faculty on several well regarded MSc degree programmes where he teaches creativity, spontaneity and not knowing.

Steve will be delivering an online workshop - Art With The Body In Mind - with Creative Dance London on Wednesday 2 June at 6pm. There is nothing to achieve, nothing to learn and no standards or objectives to meet. Steve will simply lead us through several experimental exercises to help us gently shake off the "oughts" and "shoulds" associated with the artful practice. We will allow our art to emerge from our bodies, senses, and emotions in a mindful, playful, and accessible way.

We caught up with Steve ahead of his online workshop with us:

What does creativity mean to you? What has it helped you through in life or taught you about life?

‘For me, creativity is a fundamental expression of being human. There is an innate part in us that is a desire to explore, to experiment, to create in order to help us make sense of this bizarre experience we call being human. It’s a shame that society has reduced “creativity” to be such a narrow thing. A skillset, a product, a job description. I think that I moved away from my natural creativity around age 11 when I moved from primary to secondary school and then into the world of work in a factory. I learnt that creative expression was to be put towards one side as there was now important adult work to be done. It was only in my mid-30s when I began to reconnect with it and wondered “Hey, what happened to that 11-year-old kid that used to draw comics, write comedy and compose music! Nowadays my creative practice is a fundamental part of my life and my work. I’ve said many times before that making is my therapy.’


What do you think holds people back from getting creative, and how do you think we can combat this?

I describe my interest as being in creativity and the human condition as it is the tension between these two things that I find fascinating. Creativity being the insatiable pull towards the novel, the mysterious, the unknown and the human condition is the pull in the other direction towards the safe, the familiar, the predictable. I believe this tension exists to all of us in varying degrees but, for a number of psychological and sociological reasons, the pull towards the latter wins out and we sacrifice our enlivening creative expression in favour of a sense of familiarity and safety. One of the biggest factors in this is our inner critic - that part of us that tells us we’re not good enough, that our creative expression isn’t up to standard (be that art, dance, music, writing, knitting, gardening etc.) And whilst we can’t do much about what other people think of us, we can do some work to better understand our inner critic and how it inhibits us. Personally, I’m a big fan of using creative ways to get to know and learn to dance with our inner critic - as it despises creativity, getting to know it through creative means sort of blows its mind. I did a talk on getting to know our inner critic through creative ways back in 2017 that you can watch here:


Why should people come to your event with us?

I’ve no idea to be honest. I’d love it if people come along because they are curious, because they are interested in creativity, they are interested in doing some experiments in mark making and creative expression. Whether you consider yourself an artist or not we’ll simply play with some weird and wonderful ways of making marks that will hopefully disrupt any fixed ideas we have about how good we are at it or not. Or if you are an established artists, some experiments that might playfully disrupt your default style. There’s a real overlap in how I think about making art and the work that CDL does in that I believe art comes out of the body and we will look to turn down the volume of our thoughts and logical, sensible thinking and just play with whatever our bodies want to do in that moment.


Anything else you want to add, anything you are working on in the near future?

I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve an idea of where we’ll begin but no idea of what we’ll do beyond that. I’m always working on loads of things but the immediate things that come to mind are the next exhibition of outsider art at my not for profit online gallery The Spongleheim (www.spongleheim.com) that opens on the 1st June and some new prints and paintings that I’m working on adding to my online shop at shop.canscorpionssmoke.com


Book Art With The Body In Mind:



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