• Childhood adversity, fantasy proneness, openness to experience, and the use of imagination in the work of fine artists

      Carella, Amanda (2022-05)
      Why do some artists choose to create work from their imagination while others produce work based on things they see? Psychologists have long been aware of a link between mental health and the healing powers of creation, but have yet to examine if there is a specific distinction between why someone chooses fantasy or realism as the subject of their works of art. This study draws upon research done on childhood adversity, fantasy proneness, and openness to experience to determine correlations between artists who report using ideas from their imagination, and those who report using ideas from everyday life or other artists’ work. Childhood adversity, fantasy proneness, and openness have each been linked to greater creativity, which may help to better understand stylistic differences between artists. Participants were assessed using the Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire, Creative Experiences Questionnaire, and openness to experience subscale from the Big Five Inventory, as well as a brief self-report survey regarding the use of imagination as the inspiration behind their art-making. Results showed significant support for a relationship between adverse childhood experiences and both fantasy proneness, and openness. These three variables were also found to significantly predict use of imagination, with openness being the only variable to contribute unique variance to the prediction of imagination. These findings give insight into some of the developmental and phenomenological aspects of artistic creativity.