Transient Hypofrontality

My last post on Art and the Creative Brain ended with the following paragraph:

Now, as an artist, I go mad with excitement as I discover research and publications describing findings through Brain Mapping, fMRI, CAT and PET scans,that uncovers what’s happening neurologically   when creativity knocks on my/your brain, heart, or gut…and ”Walla,”…

It’s October 2010, and I’m taking down-time after a bout with kidney cancer, my third cancer since 1992.  I’m still here…that’s another ” Art Project” I will probably talk about later.

Watercolor on Paper

There I was in home from the hospital, in bed, tired, lonely, and alone.  Friends and family literally dropped out of my life when I really most needed… “anything.”  A glass of water, a hand to hold…a husband???  Where’d he go?  This was a strange change I couldn’t ignore it.  Something’s up.  Wake up, Self.

Not willing to take this abandonment laying down, I began a major re-evaluation of my life.  As with all my other “threshold moments” I’d experienced throughout my times, I knew a major reordering  was on its way.    I cleaned out some of the old and brought in new light – delight… that ended informing closer connections with other artists and delving deeper into my own creative process.  I saw groups of artists all around me – deeply devoted to their art and to one another

Four months later the “gift of cancer” arrived. It was mid March, Sunday evening, and I was listening to On Being, a PodCast hosted by Krista Tibbitt on American Public Media.  Her guest was Rex Jung, a neuropsychologist who researched Creativity and the Everyday Brain.  The Durango Kid used to be my idol, then John Denver, now it’s Rex Jung.

This is what Krista wrote about him. “Rex Jung has notably helped describe something called TRANSIENT HYPOFRONTALITY.”  WOW!  This term stopped me in my tracks, “tans – hypofronalyalissss?”  It took me a year to learn to say it.  It’s really quite simple to understand, the word says it all – once you get it.

“In layman’s terms,” Krista goes on to say, “it’s now possible to see the difference between intelligence and creativity in the brain.  We can watch the brain calm its powerful organizing frontal lobes and become more “meandering,” less directed, in order to make creative connections.”  And guess what else, Jung goes on to debunk the myth of the “right brain-left brain” rumor.  This interview was crazy with the finest information I’d come across in a long time.

Bursting at the seams with excitement I called two painters, a poet, a potter, a dancer, a singer songwriter, and a chef – I couldn’t find a master gardener -and proposed to these accomplished artist that we come together to study the creative process that each of us experiences as we do our art.  In other words, it’s not the product but the process that will be at the inform our exploration.

Watch for my next post to get the scoop on how we began our exploration…..

Leave a Reply