Haley Scholars Spring 2013 Reading Groups
By Cindy Lyles
In "Late Bloomers," Malcolm Gladwell focuses on the creative processes
of contemporary fiction writer Ben Fountain and 19th century painter
Cezanne. Gladwell establishes that it took both men a while to develop
into the well-known artists they are today. Neither achieved acclaim in
their twenties or thirties; their roads to fame were long and slow
unlike some creative prodigies, like Orson Wells, Herman Melville, and
Mozart whose careers peaked in their early lives.
“Conceptual” creativity and open-ended exploration are the two artistic
processes Gladwell hones in on in the article. The former process
entails little research but step-by-step execution that unfolds
according to a preconceived plan; whereas the latter results from
extensive research, as well as trial and error.
Picasso was so opposed to the open-ended process that he admitted, “I can hardly understand the importance given to the word research.
In my opinion, to search means nothing in painting. To find is the
thing” (301). On the other hand, Fountain and Cezanne both lean toward
the research process to create.
How could a conceptual approach have benefited Fountain and Cezanne
more? Or, how would open-ended exploration have benefited a prodigy
artist like Picasso?