Artists can be rough on themselves. I’m an artist. I like to create in new and moving ways. I want to share with others my own interpretation of this experience of life. And that’s really what art is. The expression, in varied forms, of all that might reside in our minds. Our hearts. Our souls. And we put that out into the physical world for others to experience in their own ways.
But for so many years I could not even begin to think of myself as an artist. Let alone use that label where others might hear. I thought I wasn’t good enough to be called an artist. I wasn’t good enough at what? Art? Expressing life? In my own unique ways? Wow. If not me, then who could ever hope to do that?
See, when we experience the art of others we tend to cut a bit more slack. That movie was funny, we might think. Was it the funniest movie ever created? Chances are, not even close. And years later we might watch the same movie with different reactions. We can still like that artist. Appreciate the effort. Seek out their work again in the future. Or drift away and find another.
That’s okay. In fact, that’s great. Because it shows that we have changed and the way we interact with life has changed. And we are motivated to seek out other movies or books or sculptures that help us to feel in varied ways again. That joy and sorrow - or that connection - or that belonging.
And so we can recognize art from others as a never ending pursuit. But we so often do not allow it to be a simple process in ourselves. We convince ourselves to create a product that is nearly universally adored.
The. Funniest. Movie. Ever. Or the deepest poem. Or a photograph that causes a viewer to weep. The art creates the feeling, we convince ourselves. So there must be one definitive formula for it. And we must find it and execute it perfectly. Gasp. It does become exhausting, doesn’t it? Putting so much pressure on ourselves.
It was only once I became willing to reverse that process that I recognized myself as an artist and began creating art. I feel, and then I create out of that feeling. If the end product causes any reaction for others, that is their experience. Not any commentary on mine - or on yours. And it is a unique experience that one day I hope is recycled back to me in some artistic form - writing, painting, knitting perhaps.
See, art can show up even as I shake my hips to a “Badass Women of Rock” playlist while I dust the house. And that is truly where the joy and sorrow and connection and belonging lives in our human experience. In the doing. And no one’s offering me a gig with the Laker Girls. But I’ll keep doing it anyway.
So continue to create art. In every moment that you choose to experience life. Please, express those feelings and toss them out upon my path. Because one of your precious gifts to the world might just become my “funniest ever.”