Thursday, January 10, 2019

Are You an Artist?

Are you an artist?  

    A common misconception arises when people think about art. People are quick to put
themselves down as not being an artist. "I'm no artist." "I could never do that." And, "That's not art!", is a criticism I hear about abstract works. 

Innocence and Joy, w/c, Steve Sidare
    The problem is that these mind sets act like viruses. And they have spread across society. 

    I'm sure you've had some idea that got kicked in the head one way or another. Your idea for a solution gets invalidated or ignored. 

    Or you create something you're proud of - a song, painting, recipe, gadget or whatever - but people talk through the song, just stare at the painting, don't even try the recipe you made for the Christmas party and just eat the "same ol' same ol'" like hypnotized zombies at a brain-fest. 

    Or someone acts like you're nuts for your clever invention that keeps squirrels out of the bird feeder. 

    There's no shortage of invalidation on your attempts to create. And I believe it starts with your childhood imaginations! Perhaps you've forgotten because there was a bit of emotional pain connected with it. So now you're "practical", "sensible", and less creative.

Well... let's look at the word and see what it means...

ART: My 1960 New World Dictionary calls it, Creativeness, Skill, ...even, Cunning

My American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd Edition, has these: 

Winter Pier, watercolor, Steve Sidare
    1) Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter or counteract the work of nature. (Hmmm...)

    2a) The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty; especially the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium. (Wow!)

    In 3, it says: High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value. It also has 6a) A system of principles and methods employed in the performance of activities, as in "the art of building". (Sweet!)

    Number says: A specific skill in adept performance, conceived as requiring exercise of faculties that cannot be learned solely by study, as in, "the art of writing letters".

    The definitions include: tricks, artfulness, contrivance, cunning, etc, as well.
It originally comes from [<OFr <L ars, astis, skill.]

    ...Now we have -IST. ...Of the 5 choices, we have: 1b) One that produces, operates, makes, plays, or is connected with a specific thing, ie, "Novelist". [Greek, -istes, agent.]

     Notice that "skill" and "beauty" come up more than once. Also notice how it's not limited to creating art forms, per se. Anyone who becomes adept at an activity is an artist in their field! [Now anyone can be "out standing" in their field! (Enter eye-roll here)]

    Definitions 3 and 7 above make me think of the Japanese traditional concept of making many activities a skill and art - all the way from archery to tea. Their culture put beauty and flair in their daily activities!

So why do I bring all this up? 

Distant Boat, watercolor, Steve Sidare
    First, I see art forms that might not be readily labelled "Beauty". They just might not. Are they creative? Yes - to a greater or lesser degree. It came from an idea and was created. But isn't emphasizing beauty more helpful to all? 

    Second, to point out that you too are an artist in what you do if you are employing creative skill. Do you entertain guests? Do you do sales and make customers happy in the end? Are you a matchmaker? Are you an inventor - even if not official?

    Third, to also point out that we are always creating, every second of the day. We are creating thoughts, physical motions (walking, working, building), sounds, problems, joy, you name it! We are natural born artists. 

    So YES. You ARE, in fact, an artist! How are you going to use your creative impulses? 
For Good? Bad? Ugliness? Beauty? 

    Instead of just talking AT you, let me know what you think in the Comments section below!

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