Reflections on art while crunching

Recently, while doing sit ups in front of the TV, I watched an interview with singer Regina Spektor on the BBC. I mention the sit ups because my husband needs to know I don’t sit around in front of the TV all day, I also engage in self maintenance. Back to Regina. I crunched, while she spoke about inspiration, creativity, and her thoughts on writing music in an authentic way. I love listening to artists talk about their creative process and how they view their art. I watch Inside the Actor’s Studio for the same reason.While learning an actor’s favorite sound or swear word may be mildly interesting, I find the glimpse into their mind and how their creativity evolves, endlessly fascinating. A little jealousy inducing, but mostly fascinating.

Over the years, I have known a number of successful people working professionally in the arts: a fine artist, a writer, a photographer and a violinist. Their art takes different forms, varying in theme, style and inspirational sources, but they all seem to have a certain quality or essence that sets them apart. I struggle to put my finger on exactly what to name it, but I know it when I see it. I see it in the way the artist lives vulnerable to the world. I see how he takes it in with a different set of eyes and ears, eyes and ears that understand the brokenness and the beauty. Then he transforms the world he knows into something beautiful or haunting or thought provoking so the rest of us can see it too. I see it in the way her imagination sparks, and inspiration breathes heavy, and her art unfolds from life like a map. Her map helps guide me home. 

While I still question whether or not I possess the essence of an artist, I believe I’m getting closer to understanding it. I’ve always thought of myself as a little too ‘normal’ to be involved in the arts, not interesting or avant garde or weird enough to really pull off the title of writer/artist. But the more I dip my toe in these deep waters, I realize art has less to do with weird and more to do with living with eyes, ears, head and heart fully engaged. It is living vulnerable, open-handed, and ready for the first breath of inspiration to fan the spark of creativity into a flame. I know it when I see it. 
I’d love your thoughts on artists and essence and even on weird, if you’re so inclined. Meet you in the comments.

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  • I think the reason artists come across as weird is because creating and engaging art requires one to look with eyes that see past the obvious and dig into the evocative. That’s a hard place to go sometimes. I think Americans, too, have a no nonsense sensibility that often precludes our ability to see past the surface to something that doesn’t, if ever, make sense. I know sometimes my desire for straight facts hinders my ability to think creatively. I think that’s why art is so intimidating, too, because it requires you to look differently, to find a new perspective, and it’s scary to think you’re diving into something no one else has before. And I love how you put it: that the artist, once having grasped the new perspective that was so intimidating to find and embrace, transforms it so everyone else can see it too.

  • You have put it beautifully!! Your thoughts make me want to create something today:)