Identity construction through creativity - exploring and expressing identity through creative work by Liisa Kaunisvirta
Being on the brink of graduation, I wanted to take time to truly explore my identity and ways of expressing it through creative work to make my future wishes and possible paths clear. I have studied in the department of design and my interests within this field have always been in the more artistic ways of working. I am progressively gearing towards a fascination with fine arts, which is why I have faced questions about identity and a need to understand how and what I want to express and what would be my way in creativity.
Through my research question: “Can engaging in creative work result in a stronger sense of identity and in ways of expressing it?” I aimed to understand various aspects of identity and the possible constructive impact of creative work on gaining a stronger sense of self. So I analyzed if one can develop a better understanding of one’s identity through the creative process and thus construct ways of expressing their identity more efficiently. This is examined through literature, practice-led research, and reflecting on my identity & analyzing the creative processes of three artworks created as a part of this thesis. These creative processes include exploring different materials and possible paths from sculpture and painting to sculptural but functional objects. Additionally, I reflect on my relation to the terms designer & artist and examine the interface & fusions of design and art to find my way of creating.
In this thesis, I suggest that the act of creation is a way to discover and express aspects of the self and that identities get constructed and strengthened when one is engaged in creative practices. I propose that the benefits of self-reflection and consciously exploring one’s creative process include aspects such as a stronger sense of identity, self-understanding, and gaining trust & confidence in one’s abilities. For someone who struggles with identity questions connected to creativity, this thesis can be beneficial as it shows how taking time to reflect on yourself and experimenting with creative work can lead to positive growth and works that better convey what is important to one’s identity.
Due to its exploratory and reflective nature, I claim that creative processes offer a way to examine, construct and express one’s identity when allowing the time to consciously self-reflect and explore. By using methods such as self-reflection, writing, and exploring inspirations, materials, and ways of working one can develop and deepen their sense of self and find ways to express their identity. Since identities grow and change throughout our lives, to gain benefits from the creative process, one also needs to keep evolving their ways to keep a continuous understanding of identity and what they wish to express.