The problem with creativity is that it is subjective. There is no "creativity meter" or any other way to measure if one is more creative than the other. But the difference between thought patterns of a visual artist and any other person, based on their creative output is all too apparent.
And within visual art, it is relatively easy for one to move from one discipline to another because everything -- from 2D art to 3D art and all that is in between and beyond - is guided by the same elements and principles of art.
Line, shape, direction, colour, size, texture and value are elements that will always be part of the process for creating an artwork, regardless of where, when, how it was created.
Although it is highly unlikely that all principles of design can be noted in one artwork, balance, gradation, repetition, contrast, harmony, dominance, unity and rhythm are properties found in artworks across the board. This explains why it is easy for artists to work within different disciplines without too much difficulty.
In Zimbabwe, painters and sculptors are almost always one and the same thing.
Graphic designing, which involves systematic and aesthetic arrangement of visuals and text comes naturally to artists with previous experience with graphic novels, comic art and editorial cartooning.
Animator Carl Joshua Ncube and sculptor Brian Taurai Mteki even crossed the floor and became performance artists as comedian and singer respectively.
A lot of Zimbabwe's performing artists are either practicing visual artists or have an emotional attachment to two or three dimensional works.
Visual and performing arts are close relatives and there is value for the two to always work hand in glove.
Art may be several disciplines rolled in one but once one is within, it is not difficult to glide from one to another. It is when one is on the outside, full of envy yet not particularly blessed with the talents that the art business becomes tricky.
I am reminded of a 2002 quote from hip hop artist, Lauryn Hill, then married to Rohan Marley, when she remarked; "We look at Bob Marley, you know, and we say Ok, let's just grow locks and wear the clothes and have the band and we have no idea how many years of struggle and pain and suffering that made that content. You see what I'm saying? You can't get it from the outside in. Truth is from the inside out.
You know, and the way we've been trying to heal and be healed is with these topical, surface, superficial, temporary solution. And I'm telling you, true healing is from the inside out".
It is impossible for one to become an artist simply by liking the profession and attempting to imitate based on what can be viewed from the outside.
It is not the clothes or the way they talk or anything attached to the artists that define them.
Because art is hardly a job but a way of life, it is unlikely that one can 'copy and paste', and still give the impression that they belong because, crucially the business of creating is what defines visual artists, so hiding behind the clothes and dreadlocks is not a lifetime solution.
It is a stop-gap measure but to what end?
Every art field has on its fringes people with great passion but very little or no talent.
These are usually people that may not have been to many career guidance workshops, and under the mistaken impression that somehow, creative juices will magically start pouring out of them.
During every reggae concert, half a dozen or more characters invade the stage waving flags and banners throughout the musician's set.
They would look just like the reggae stars and they occupy the stage for hours at a time.
But they do not add any value because apart from waving a flag, a task anyone can perform, they cannot dance, sing or play any instrument.
In visual art circles, characters like that exist.
They may dress just as informally as the artists, know and understand just as much but have not created a single artwork.
Creativity in visual art is like a gun in war; without it, the situation cannot be more hopeless or desperate.
Yet with it, there is no way that one can possibly fail.
Creativity and acute knowledge of elements and principles of art enables one to move across disciplines and find the right combinations for success.
The one danger for visual artists is the temptation to do too much within their domain and end up knowing very little in each of the disciplines they may be involved in.
There is nothing more unfortunate than people that think they know so much, yet everything they actually know may be the very basics of several art genres.
A jack of no trade, so to speak.