(or what I learned from The Everyday Work of Art)
I started thinking about this a while ago after reading The Everyday Work Of Art and it kinda stuck out. I’ve heard a lot of people say “I’m just not artistic”, and I spent years telling myself the same thing. “I can’t draw”, “I’m not very artistic”, “I don’t have much artistic talent at all”, “I can’t sing” I can’t, I can’t, I don’t, I’m not. Years I told myself this, believed this, and only recently came to realize that all of it was lies. I *am* artistic, and even when I thought I wasn’t artistic, I was still making art.
Most people think that art only encompasses things like painting, theater, singing, music, dancing – these are the things that we leave to those with talent, we revere it and save our experience with it for special occasions. Art is something we visit on stage or at a museum when we’re on vacation or during the holidays.
Art is something that we play at in churches while volunteering in the children’s production or helping with the easter cantata (who invented that word anyway?). But it’s not something that most of us take seriously unless we’re one of the “few” with talent.
Art is for children, who run around putting on imaginary plays and believe their circles spread across a page are accurate depictions of people. Most of us leave art in childhood and admire those who figured out how to make it work for them.
The truth is, though, everyone is an artist regardless of how much talent we think we have – regardless of our ability or inability to draw or carry a tune.
Everyone is an artist because art is not a finished product; art is a verb and not a noun.
The passion and joy and wonder that you experience when you do something you love to do – that is art, even if you wouldn’t label it that way.
Writing, building, plumbing, making pizza, organizing, or mastering a game – art is not the end product, but the process and enjoyment and journey you take to get there. Art is not something that ends when the work is done, because it’s a way of living, of feeling, and viewing the world and life around you.
The yearning that we feel that compels us to create, and the excitement and passion we follow that with, is the work of art. When I finish my film or my next painting, my art will not be done, because art is made in journeying and it never really ends – even if you block it out or ignore it for years on end, it’s still there, and you’ll look back and realize that all this time you’ve been creative without realizing it. I did.