Week 2 : Creativity in The Industrial Revolution

Contrast your own views on creativity with one of these previous incarnations. How are they different/similar?

As I stated before, one of the many definitions of creativity that I truly believe in is how it is used as a problem-solving tool. And the Industrial Revolution era is an example where creativity was used to create new inventions that gave solutions and drastically changed the quality of life back in the late 1700s. However, issues about individualism and mass-producing art pieces became a concern to many individuals.

The iron, and the textile industries, along with the introduction of steam engine, were the main area that the Industrial Revolution had revolutionized. Due to the steam engine, steam powered trains were introduced, solving the problems of “communication and trade between places before deemed to far” (Bond et al., 2003). Additionally, a machine that produces multiple spools of thread was created, which lead to an increase of productivity, and that was more efficient than what workers can produce (History.com, n.d.). These are just several examples where creativity was applied to create a better way of living to some people. To the poor and working class, however, the arrival of machinery meant no job stability, as they were easily replaceable. The life for factory workers were dangerous, had become monotonous, and lacked individuality. Unfortunately, this demonstrates how exclusivity sometimes becomes part of certain solutions.

Mass production was also introduced, which allowed multiple copies of art pieces to be sold. This became an issue to numerous individuals due to the belief that mass-producing takes away the essence and uniqueness of the piece. According to Robinson (2013), Walter Benjamin, a German philosopher and culture critic, believed that the aura of an art is lost once it becomes reproduced for mass-consumption. In which I agree, due to mass-production, art has also become part of capitalism. The upside of this, however, is the emergence of new art style that went against the philosophy of Industrial revolution that was against individuality and more manufactured items.

Reactions against the Industrial Revolution inspired new style of art movements, such as romanticism, and the arts and crafts movement. The Romantic Movement is established to escape the “grey drudgery of mechanical work” (Grimes, 2014). Skwirk (n.d.) describes this movement “was a revolt against the rational, aristocratic, restrained and structured world that emerged during the Industrial Revolution.” While the Arts and Crafts movement that was inspired by the views of William Morris that was all about the “return to traditional craft methods and ‘romantic’ forms of decoration… That expanded through architecture, furniture making, and decorative arts” (Ryan, 2007).

Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich, 1818 (from the Romantic era)  

Peacock and Bird Carpet by William Morris, c. 1800s

All in all, creativity, in terms of innovation, had a dramatic impact in the Industrial revolution. It changed the general quality of living for the people back then, and gave solutions to numerous problems, as listed above. Which is similar to what I perceive to be what creativity is, and that is to supply ideas that can change the world for the better. One of the many problematic views that I disagree back in the Industrial Revolution, however, was its strong aversion to individualism. Similar to Walter Benjamin’s view, I feel that the aura and the essence are gone once an art piece has been mass-produced. Although, I am not entirely against mass-produce as it helped spread the art throughout the world that gave inspiration to other movements.


Bond, E., Gingerich, S., Archer-Antonsen, O., Purcell, L., & Macklem, E. (2003). The Industrial Revolution – Innovations. Industrialrevolution.sea.ca. Retrieved 8 August 2015, from http://industrialrevolution.sea.ca/innovations.html

Friedrich, C. F. (1818). Wanderer above the Sea of Fog. [Online image]. Retrieved 8 August 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wanderer_above_the_Sea_of_Fog

HISTORY.com.(n.d). Industrial Revolution – Facts & Summary – HISTORY.com. Retrieved 8 August 2015, from http://www.history.com/topics/industrial-revolution

Robinson, A. (2013). Walter Benjamin: Art, Aura and Authenticity. Ceasefire Magazine. Retrieved 8 August 2015, from https://ceasefiremagazine.co.uk/walter-benjamin-art-aura-authenticity/

Ryan, V. (2007). THE ART AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT 1880 to 1910. Technologystudent.com. Retrieved 9 August 2015, from http://www.technologystudent.com/prddes1/artscrafts1.html

Wikipedia. (n.d.) Industrial Revolution. Retrieved 8 August 2015, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Revolution#Steam_power

Morris, W. (1800s). Peacock and Bird Carpet. [Online image]. Retrieved 8 August 2015, from http://www.thecultureconcept.com/circle/william-morris-the-arts-craft-movement-art-that-is-life


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