Is peak creativity sustainable?

Embrace the fear there's limits to peak creativity in all forms but plenty of evidence hard-working class is sustainable.

I got an email from Andrew Chiodo the owner of my all-time favorite fashion store advising me he’d had enough and was closing after 25 years.

The notice of impending demise from Chiodo in Melbourne, Australia, reminded me of their creative peak in men’s fashion and retail merchandising of about 15 years through the ’90s and up until about 2005.

They were my threads of a lifetime, at an age when the style I reflected mattered most to me. In recent years their style and marketing lost relevance and urgency– a reminder creativity and fashion are fickle, furtive and personal in all art forms.

The evidence is compelling in music, art and writing that creativity on the top shelf has a shelf life – both in human ability to maintain a creative peak and how their work survives critics’ views over the progression over time.

Much depends on the background psychology of the artist and how they rose above the plethora of poor strugglers of their era they are compared to. Fame and fortune due to public demand or critically acclaimed by their peers as artistic inspirations without the same popular success

In music think of the rise of the Beatles, Bowie and Pink Floyd, who rose above contemporaries in arguably rock music’s most creative era. The hardest working or business savvy were more durable such as James Browne, Prince and U2. Some icons because they did not endure, think Hendrix, Jim Morrison (Doors), Kurt Cobain.

I loved early U2’s early albums but the sight of Ambassador Bono on the political circuit creates urges to gag – an artist clearly past his musically creative prime but not lacking in self-importance in an untrained field.

Did H.S. Thompson’s creative brain respond
positively or negatively to his lifestyle?

1966-85 1985-2005

Hunter S. Thompson's creative brain?

There’s debate HST’s early work was more Gonzo than his later work.
A matter of LSD usage, age or creative decline?

The general pattern seems to be up to five years of genius output and 5-10 years either side most peers would give a plucking finger or voice box for creative of that standard. But within those short years they’ve come back to the pack in creativity.

My point being peak creativity should never be taken for granted.There’s no match for talent combined with consistent graft  to stay sharp. Or understand an extended break to freshen up is a two edged sword.

Great authors best works seem to peak over similar time frames, two notable exceptions being Leo Tolstoy and Stephen King, authors hard to compare except in their ability to maintain their class over a generation.

The dramatic graphic comparative review of gonzo journalist Hunter S.Thompson early and later writings below made me smile.

Clearly fashion houses must build vibrant brands with dynamic design teams to compensate for being unable protect their designs by design marks even if the trademark is protected.

The fashion industry did this in the distant past determined to encourage creativity. Many great artists’ work and personal brand has major cachet for as long as the product is in demand

Unless you’ve been a visitor to Little Collins St in Melbourne CBD you likely haven’t never heard of Chiodo but when I discovered the shop I thought I’d found fashion and footwear Nirvana. My three favourite pairs of shoes ever and many Egyptian cotton tee-shirts and sweatshirts I still wear fifteen years later originated there.

Chiodo closing down

Chiodo’s honest graphic of impending demise

A combo of both Japanese and European influence from about 1992 til 2002 I wanted to buy much of the shop’s wares though clearly this was impossible.

There’s a school of thought that Mr Thompson’s best writing was chemically assisted – not just him when tangled up in the stories he came to report before ending up in a starring role.This reviewer made the point that as H.S.T. got older he got straighter and his writing, while still entertaining, had lost it’s sharpest edges post 1990 until his death in 2005, by his own hand.

My view is his later writing wasn’t as highly original nor seemed as out on the edge because by then HST had inspired a Gonzo generation into the hedonist labs in their heads. What didn’t kill you at least conditioned you for understanding what he was experiencing.

His wish for his ashes to be fired towards space from a giant cannon came to fruition a year later organised by Johnny Depp who played H.S.T. in the movie Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas while at the top of his creative game – not that he’s a slouch now.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Delicious
  • Pinterest
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Email

Leave a Reply