Loving, creativity and learning to really feel your feelings, are all essential pieces in making art.
I want to tell you something important now. If you’re not brave enough to love, you will never love. If you are not brave enough to create, you will never create. If you are not brave enough to feel your own feelings, you will never create art that is truly yours. Or at least, it will not feel like yours. More like an imitation of how you think you should feel, or what you think you should create.
Don’t be fooled, delivering creative ideas to fruition involves deep creative processes and mental organization. However, pure creativity, that rises up from the sacral part of the body, or down from the muses, is always a feeling first. Your creativity is an electrical dose of energy. Your creativity is your inner child on a natural high running around an endless field of possibilities with barefeet. Your creativity is shameless.
Your creativity in essence is: your sense of your own spiritedness.
Finding your spiritedness.
To tend to your creativity, you must tend to your spirit. Is your spirit well? Well-fed with imaginative inspiration, community support, safe places to move and run around, and strong self-care, like regular meals, fresh air, laughter, pleasure, and rest. These are the nutrients. How will your barefoot inner child feel safe to play and create without something in its belly, books to excite the mind, someone it trusts to keep them safe from afar, and tools to tend to their own wellbeing?
Chucking the old trope.
The trope of the unhealthy, starved, addicted artist is dead. It is a result of historically offensive and unhelpful perceptions of artists, and the very real fact that artists are not always paid well or paid what they are worth. Start by knowing your worth, your art is a gift that deserves to be paid for. Charge accordingly.
You are absolutely allowed to be a work-in-progress (afterall, creativity is an endless well), but let your creative output be markers for that progress. Mark the a-ha moments, the mundane dreamings, the slow burn revelations, the changing relationship to the self and the world, that the artist (you, darling) is in constant flow with, whether you see it or not.
Stop thinking it’s a dog-eat-dog world.
When you can see that, it will show in your art. Art is not just about you, it’s about how you experience the ‘other’. The unique vantage point you have of another person, place, community, idea – that is what makes your art unquestionably yours. So do not fall for the trap of seeing art as a competition, instead see it as a hazy distraction from your own creation.
What if instead of dog-eat-dog, we thought of it like a bunch of dogs playing on the beach at sunset. Some in collaboration, some making love, some doing their own thing.
All cared about and loved in their own ways, by their own people.
The artist identity as a curiosity.
The artist is a healing person. To create is an act of curiosity about the self, the mind and the body. To approach ourselves in this way, we are showing interest not in our ego, but in our vulnerability and unique expression of self. Seeing our own healing as play, as experiment, as the story of our lives, which we refuse to let another person write for us. Seeing our own healing as our art. And watching our own art shape-shift beyond our wildest imaginings, as we evolve and lean into our quirky genius.
We are all artists of something. Some of us are just shit-scared. Scared to make art that exposes us. Scared to make bad art. Scared to be labelled as weird. Scared to be seen as feeling ‘too much’. Scared to be outlandish.
Or excluded from our ‘community’. What kind of community doesn’t want crazy cool art? What kind of people want to be around a non–emotional, non-expressive, colour in the lines, and slightly fearful human.
Honey…They ain’t your people, if you wanna make art you love. The right people will find you.
Want to love your own art? Do the work to love yourself. Not in ego-ic, ‘showy’ way reflected through exclusive art world scenes, edgy clothes and crossing paths with snobby ‘creators’. Snoozzzzze. No. That will take you further from yourself. No matter your art form of choice, love yourself through the bad art, sad art, young art, not-quite there yet art.
The poetry is in practicing your art lovingly through yourself. Using yourself as a vessel to dispel shame for yourself and others. Courageous art makes us less afraid or tries to show us a map for how we could be. Let yourself be inspired by that kind of art, whatever courage means to you. Bask in that art. Pay homage to those who have made art bravely before you. Then sit quietly with yourself and give yourself a chance, it is your turn now.
When you can do this, with your own passionate heart, you will make art you love, and you will still love yourself wholeheartedly when you don’t. You will learn to stop punishing yourself by keeping yourself from art, and art from you. You will not banish the notebooks, good pens and brushes to the suitcase under the stairs. You will leave them in the light. Ready to be yielded at any moment that calls for you to breathe colour into it. Weave your words through it. Dance your dance of freedom, with it.
Art is a tool for healing ourselves and others. Art is, of itself, a healing practice. Art supports us to “imagine worlds where our life would take on brilliance, warmth, and development.
Poets lead us into the cosmos which are being endlessly renewed.”
– The Poetics of Reverie, Gaston Bachelord, p. 23