Creative vs Artistic


I was thinking today about the differences between being “artistic” and “creative.”

By definition being creative is to have the ability to cause something to exist or to bring it into being.  Being artistic is the ability to satisfy aesthetic requirements, or showing skill or excellence in execution. There are obviously differences between the two, but can they be mutually exclusive?

I would argue that it’s possible to be creative but not artistic.  You can invent a new object or devise a new way of doing something, but put the idea together in a shoddy way. We can probably all find potentially nifty things that were blown in the execution.

Imagining the reverse, however – artistic but not creative – I’m not quite as sure of. Perhaps one can argue that someone can have the artistic skill to pull off an exact replica of a master work, but not have the vision to use those very same skills to create an original work of their own. But isn’t the act of creating even an exact replica…well, creative?

I’m not sure if these two sets would be better represented like this:

or like this:

I’ll have to ponder this one some more.

What do you think?

Colleen Clifford

  • Aishajcreative

    i just started wondering about this myself – i’m sure i’m a creative but at what point do i become artistic? i totally agree with your observations!

  • Colleen Clifford

    The concept of “artistic” is more about the execution of the technical skills. I don’t think it’s a single point to arrive at, so much as a sliding scale that’s measured in relation to something else.  For instance, I’m more artistic (have better technical skills) in digital design and clay sculpting than many people, but there are also thousands that display a greater level of artistry than me.  In cooking I have no artistic skills whatsoever (I can mangle a peanut butter sandwich), but I’ve witnessed people create magic on their stovetops.  

    I don’t think the question is really when do you “become” artistic — it’s a matter of becoming MORE artistic in whatever you pursue. 

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