Shop Talk

What Is Creative Flow and How Do You Find It?

Have you ever lost hours creating a new artwork, to realise you’ve forgotten to eat lunch? Do you know the feeling of whole afternoons melting away because you’re enjoying making new work?

You might’ve experienced what psychologist Csíkszentmihályi calls ‘creative flow’ or simply, ‘flow’, a psychological state where someone is so completely taken in a state of focus and enjoyment in what they’re doing they enter another mental space. 

Flow is often called being ‘in the zone’ or being ‘on’, and it essentially means you become totally absorbed in an activity for a prolonged period of time. Entering this mental state is particularly prevalent amongst artists I know, where sitting down to create an artwork sweeps them up into another world and menial tasks such as remembering to drink water takes a backseat due to the enjoyment from the task at hand. 

Your Steam by Nicolae Negura

Experiencing flow is reportedly an optimal state to be in, a time during which our brains enter a state of consciousness where our brains are hyper-focused on the task at hand. Another characteristic of flow is that a person feels competent and confident to create their artwork, and hold a strong belief they can meet any challenges that may arise.

Entering Flow can occur when you’re doing anything, but it’s been noted as particularly common in artists, especially those who are emotionally invested in their creation and are self-motivated to make their work. 

Have you ever experienced Flow? Tell us your story about Flow in the comments below.