Serving the Upper Mississippi River Valley Arts Community

An art-filled life

A friend asked me about art opportunities for her son (who spent his morning making masks)… and I said:

There are some venues around here that offer art opportunities. We can talk about them sometime. But I want to say that while it is grand to get kids together to make art, I think it’s more important to make sure that the creative creature that lives inside of each of us has a chance. Parents are the best incubators for that creative creature.

I think that the critical thing is to encourage constant experimentation… making art is experimentation – pure, wonderful, exasperating, beautiful experimentation – it’s giving in to the urge to “what if…” something, to take a bit of this and a bit of that and put them together to make a new thing. It doesn’t have to be limited to traditional art activities – building a snow fort or baking a pie or making some contraption can be experimental – and if it is, you’re feeding the creative creature.

The most important thing for raising a child (or an adult) to live an art-filled life – to be blessed with the indescribable lightness of being that art generates – is to be willing to totally wreck havoc in the name of experimentation, to be willing to put the journey and the finding out ahead of things like order and propriety and everything else that shuts down the creative mind, that forces us to be those cogs in the machine.

I was very lucky as a child – my parents did not have much, but they let us play with almost everything they had. The contraptions we made were applauded and treasured – even when they had to be scraped off the sidewalk, or painted over, or dismantled so that dinner could be put on the table, or, or, or…

I was “sewing” before I started school, “building” before I was out of grade school… I learned how to use tools, how to make stuff from bits of this and that, how to fix things, how to “see” what might be, how to be fearless in my experimentation – to know “I can do that…” whatever “that” was.

And all because I was taught that the creative creature was important, that it was the most important part of me – the part that made me alive – the creative creature was me. Life was all about the making and thinking and looking and finding… All those doings done, all those thoughts thought, they stayed with me throughout my life. Even in the times when I was too afraid to make art, when life demanded too much of me to be able to spare the energy, I still was art-filled.

And one day I came back to it.

So, would I like to make my living making art? Hell yes. I’d love to… and I am really stubborn, so maybe it will happen.

But it’s ever so much more important to just be making the art.

   

Comments on: "An art-filled life" (2)

  1. Very well said! I especially like your words: “to be willing to put the journey and the finding out ahead of things like order and propriety and everything else that shuts down the creative mind”.

    I have always “fought” to live the art-filled life. Not because it is a choice, but because it is who I am. So many do not get this. I hope to grow them to my way of thinking! People in my life are forever telling me to give-it-up… not so much in words, but in their not-seeing not-understanding pacification.

    Heartlocket Hollow (my art studio) is my place of tranquility – filled with all things artful, whimsical, enchanting and real. I am grateful for the ability to connect with like-minded souls “out there” through cyber space for the purpose of nurturing my creative spirit – to strengthen my purpose to share with those who in my estimation – need to life an “art-filled” life. This mission is only just begun – but the steps along the way are part of seeking to live the art-filled life!

    • Well said, Christine!

      When I wrote the phrase you quoted I was referring to the mess and disorder that kids can make when they are in creative mode, the mess that parents and caretakers stress over…

      But what I wrote also applies to the limits that we place on our selves – fear of failure and our worries about reputation (what others think of us), and strangest of all… a fear of success.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Monta
      montagaelmay.com
      montagael.blogspot.com
      monta@montagaelmay.com

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