Growing up there was always one constant for me; art. That was it that was the one thing I did no matter what else was going on. It wasn’t a passion or a drive it was an escape.
I look at the world and I don’t think to myself we need fewer artists, I honestly think we need more. I think more people need to tap into that side of themselves and feel just a little bit of control of what is going on in their lives and world. I think people need to cut out a little piece of time and listen to music and painting a painting even though they know it is shit. Because they are not reaching for perfection but progress. Progress is a place of joy and control and we all need that when life feels out of control.
What we all did in elementary school with the cutting and pasting, the coloring and drawing, the showing and telling, are all still fun to do as adults. My wife is one of the most artistic and crafty persons I have ever met. She gets into learning how to make something and then does it. She adds her own twist to it and always comes out with something surprising. Creativity and making things is a small journey of joy we can all take. There are ups and downs. Be realistic, somethings we try might be too hard for now, but we can always revisit it when we have gained the skills needed through smaller projects to accomplish it. But it all starts with those simple skills we learned in elementary. Where we go from there is up to us and that is progress and control, and some of us need to feel that right now.
Here is the thing. We are in the midst of a really shitty situation. Catastrophes have happened around the world. A pandemic is still killing people and ruining lives. Some places are getting shut-down and entering lockdown. Life feels like there are no handlebars and we are going to fly off at any minute, but we don’t have to always feel that way. If you have to be on lock-down or feel you need to quarantine, do me the favor and pretend you are an artist who is choosing to take this time to work on your art. You are in control and this is your artistic exile. This is your time to do some of your most important work. You cannot be disturbed, you must go to your creative place. In that place, you begin to create. In being creator and creative you begin to change, you see the world differently, you think for yourself and no longer look to others as a creative crutch. You emerge ready to try and fail and try again. Because after all this you have found your creative voice and now get to apply it to new mediums. Please pretend with me this is true of you.
I didn’t have the best childhood. But I had art. I had a place to go inside my head that found expression on a page and I didn’t have to live only in my head. What I am trying to say is don’t stop creating because people don’t care that you do it, or don’t like your work, do it because it is the best place you can go when the world is falling apart and there is nothing you can do about it.
“Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” —Howard Thurman