Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.
The idea of art seems elusive to some. It seems mysterious to others. It seems ridiculous to many. It is mind-blowing to me. I have been teaching “art” professionally since 2001. Over these years, I have heard so many people say that they cannot draw or they cannot paint, or they have no artistic bone in their body. To this, I always encourage them and tell them that they indeed can do it, if they want to.
Art-making feels “difficult” because, for one thing, it takes practice, for another, you have to tap into a different part of your thinking that does not always come naturally. It seems difficult—probably because you are overthinking it.
The hesitation comes in all ages too. Children become frustrated with their drawings if they do not look “real”. High school students chalk up their talent to “mediocre” and move on to a different life plan. Graduate students in an MFA program are trying to do work that matters, is in context, and will, hopefully, get them a teaching job.
I think that what everyone is forgetting is that art should be natural, it should come out of the person. It is expression. It is part of every one of us. Art continually expresses itself in tens of thousands of forms. There is not one way.
I have observed that there is something like an art stereotype or art “box” that the majority of people believe we are supposed to fit into–and if it does not fit, then it is not art. I do not believe in this notion. Art is mark-making. It is sacred. It is unbridled. It is us. It is you. It can be primitive. Feel it.
No better way is there to learn to love nature than to understand art. It dignifies every flower of the field. And, the boy who sees the thing of beauty which a bird on the wing becomes when transferred to wood or canvas will probably not throw the customary stone.
As an example, I am currently teaching a course on the history of graphic novels and comics, and the students have had a trying experience working to believe that graphic novels and comics are, indeed, art. Why? Because of what our culture or society has deemed as “art”.
In my opinion, art is everything that is pure and comes out of you, free-flowing.
Unedited art—and more refined art––is fantastic. Because it is unique, and no matter what, the person who created it took the time to make it. They shaped into form something that was inside of them. It was formless—and however they made it, it was in a tangible form.
The pure concept of creating is pretty unique now.
Be a producer, not a consumer.
So, I salute all artists. If you are just starting—keep going! My applause to you if you are in the midst of creating. Do not worry about the critics. There will always be plenty. Focus on getting out whatever it is that you need to or want to.
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
Also, know that it is okay to need to look for inspiration to create. We all need time to observe, and contemplate. It is fine to take the time to step back––and understand. Art and inspiration find us when we are in tune with our immediate surroundings. Thinking twice will usually stunt the growth of inspiration—again, do not overthink the creative process. Of course, it makes sense to reason, but listening to your inner buzz is how to remain on track. It is freeing.
My projects are the high joy of freedom.
Do not doubt yourself. If you have been waiting for a while to create your work, please allow yourself to—right now. As you are.
You have it in you. Do not let anyone make you believe otherwise. Begin with little steps. As you keep moving, begin to take large steps for acceleration. If you do not acknowledge and talk about your goals and visions, nothing will change. You will not change.
Do not live in a shell of yourself. You can do this.
Reawaken your inspired mind. Do it daily. Make yourself! It works. It is your life.
The fact is that art is not hard to create. If you find it challenging, it is because you are overthinking it.
Art is as natural as it comes.
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—Photo Credit: Flickr/Azra Abertish