Curiosity Created The Cat


by Azalea Joyner, Photograph by Shannyn Higgins

What is the phrase about necessity and invention; that it’s the mother of? Curiosity is the mother of creativity.

Innately, creativity follows curiosity. As a creator, you must nurture curiosity in order to make art. The artist follows curiosity about the human condition- about their own condition. To create art is to create questions; more than the finished product that comes at the end of a process, art is a sustained question.

And then the curator begins where the artist ends. There’s work to be had in front of a finished piece. What does it mean to the collector? What does it mean to the artist? What is art teaching the collector? Curiosity enables these questions to rise. Curiosity generates art.

As an integral part of art, I believe that we as collectors and creators often overlook curiosity. I feel that, very often, when an artist speaks on creating work the first description is of agitation: there was something bothering me and I selected a medium to talk speak on confusion or opinion. Or, very often we hear an artist speak on how undeniable their art became-- I had a story, an image, a message, inside of me and I could not ignore it any longer. How often do we call that curiosity, though? And isn’t it? Isn’t it curiosity that’s leading an artist forward?

The collector’s curiosity is so often misquoted as a simple thirst for possession. Or, stunted, in the thought that acquiring art is only about liking or loving a piece. Yes, collectors attain work that interests them; but that interest is rooted in curiosity. Collectors think of the artist, collectors think of themselves in relation to the artist and separately an artist’s work. Who am I, as audience to a piece? Am I reflected in this work? Am I not? What do either of those things mean? And why do I not only want to experience this piece, but invest in it to the point of claiming ownership? All of this is curiosity. The collector is a witness to art-- an active participant, rather than only an idle buyer.

Celebrate curiosity- celebrate art as a series of questions.

And celebrate the relateability of these questions. Look what you can find after being curious to discover-- yourself, the world removed, the world as you know it, life.

Our curiosity defines the art we like, but also defines who we are as curators and creators. What are you curious about? How can it help you? What does it mean that you go to art in these moments?

Curiosity stands outside of what we can qualify and quantify, and so does art.