“Personal development. Art? What on earth are you talking about”.
Yes, I can hear you uttering those words just about now – you know, just after you have read the title of the post, looked at the bio and were trying to figure out if you should bother to read on. Up to you I guess, but may be your version of art just needs greater acuity or insight.
What I suppose I am asking you to do is to suspend your disbelief and just think for a moment about yourself, and ask yourself the question: “When did you last do Art”?
By Art I don’t mean, in my case, copying someone else’s picture or worse still, like a recipe, following a series of instructions and coming up with a finished article – you know like those groovy, 1970’s, painting by numbers creations.
NO I AM TALKING ABOUT YOU BEING PASSIONATE, INVENTIVE, MIND-BLOWINGLY CREATIVE AND JUST PUTTING SOMETHING OUT ‘THERE’ THAT IS YOU – THE REAL DEAL.
As Seth Godin says at p.83 of his book Linchpin:
“Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.”
Seth then gives examples of various people who day in day out fit this category including Tom Peters who wrote In Search of Excellence. But the point isn’t who you can be like or do you fit their modus operandi – no, the point is you need to think when was the last time you did something that genuinely expressed You and wasn’t just a rip off of someone else’s work. Something that you put your life and soul into that you felt had the power to or better still touched someone else’s life.
I can’t tell you how many times I have felt that the sole purpose of what I was doing was to conform or just please another person when what I should have been focusing on with all my might was to do my absolute best – something that stretched every fibre, gave rise to an inner spirit that just needed to be excised and I didn’t have to think about too much – it just flowed.
Children have the power in spades to produce Art. My 6-year-old does it every day – effortlessly and without having to sit down and start planning, cogitating and the like.
As Seth Godin says (ibid):
“If art is a human connection that causes someone to change his mind, then you are an artist.”
Art has a correlative relationship both with emotion and passion. If you are not emotionally charged and imbued with a sense that you are doing your very best then there is no way you will ever get close to producing art. I am not saying what you produce will not be good but the chances are it won’t connect on a visceral, mind-challenging or emotional level.
Next time you have the possibility for human interaction think Art.