Who is the artist?

What makes an artist? Stereotypically, one thinks of an artist as someone with wonderful natural talent laced with variable amounts of training and guidance from others; someone who happily whiles away hours of their time in absolute bliss splashing about wonderful colours after sketching a moving scene… They’re usually encouraged to continue on their artistic path by supportive family and friends; the same people who usually consider themselves “Not that artistic”. Sound about right?

Now those who indulge in their wonderful artistic pursuits (whether they be photographic, fine art, dance or music), often describe their lives as being balanced, calmer, happier than before.  The activity seems to allow them to access parts of their minds and emotions that brings them clarity and a sense of fulfilment. Now who could do with some more of that good stuff?? Everyone, I’m guessing. So, if everyone were to take up creative pursuits, would that make every one an artist?

Interestingly, a young artist, Ernest M. English, has recently undertaken a project in Boston where he’s gotten a whole bunch of “Not that Artistic’s” involved in producing a large 41-foot paint-by-number mural. He organised the project with ArtLifting, which was designed to encourage collaboration that transcends typical social and geographical dividing lines. I’m guessing it probably helped transcend the self-imposed, self-conscious dividing lines of creativity within the passersby too. Read more about it here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/05/26/group-mural-takes-center-stage-outside-prudential-center/emgTw3Ewx7oKAUa7PtlW8H/story.html

When is it that people suddenly stop thinking of themselves as being creative and artistic? Is it when their colourful pencil scratches are suddenly described as scribbles? When they’re told-off for not colouring in the lines perfectly? When they’re told that “Pink and red don’t match!” Or when their music teacher at school says, “Oh heavens Johnny, please sit down, you won’t be singing with the choir!” Now, that’s not to say that ALL of us should be professional singers/dancers/painters/writers etc. but we should be encouraged to have a creative outlet. To allow ourselves to be expressive and free and access all the wonderful mental health benefits of feeling ‘balanced’. And, it really helps to have some encouragement from a partner, close friend or family member for each of us to pursue those creative outlets, what ever they may be, and however imperfect the end result too! I’ve included a wax crayon drawing which was produced by a 3-near-4-year-old; please note the high-heeled shoes. The exercise resulted in great pride and ensuing beaming smile… on the faces of both the ‘artist’ and the ‘beholder’  Here’s to being 4 again!

Mommy pic
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