Thursday, April 2, 2009

Free-write on art

This is a free-write Hillary did on the subject of art and creativity and she wanted to share it:

Author's note:
Before someone else says it: purists will note that this does not completely stick to the guidelines for a free-write because there was an obvious audience in mind, and, at some point, a direction, and because it was edited, but nonetheless it started as a bunch of random thoughts about art and creativity and making jewelry which eventually flowed together.

I love those who make the art they want to even if it means no money and no pile of screaming fans. I think life is all about doing things the way you feel is right for you and hoping that someone gets you. This extends to art. When an artist creates something, all they are saying is "here is a piece of me, please try to understand."

Art, be it music, dance, jewelry or performance, is really a bunch of different little pieces of the artist, and what we want is someone to say they appreciate us. I have taken different dances to a choreography competition on 2 separate occasions, and while I was disappointed that I didn't make it in to the finals, I was content when and fulfilled when I heard the words "I really get what you were saying because..." Really I think that's all most people want out of life is to be understood.

I think artists are both lucky and tortured in this respect. We're lucky because we have an outlet to express ourselves that not everyone does. We have a way to very uniquely tell the world who we are. But we're tortured in that that way is very public and leaves us open to criticism, attacks or anything. I also say artists are tortured because artistry is the primary way we express ourselves--the way we have to express what's really going on--and a lot of people won't get it or don't like it.

The diversity of people's modalities of communication and expression is wonderful and it is what makes the human experience unique. But for many artists, we can't help but feel a twinge of rejection if someone doesn't "get" our art. We're asking to be looked at, to be understood, to be something worth wondering about, and some people just plain don't want to be in that artistic world.

I think that many artists have a hard time living in this world and within it's confines. Jimi Hendrix was a genius and yet his music sometimes comes across as so tortured and frustrated. Based on some of the quotes in his liner notes, it seemed like he wanted his whole life to be music... not that he wanted an existence in this world that consisted of him doing nothing but write, play and listen to songs, but that he wanted a universe unto himself that consisted of music. He wanted to live in music. He wanted to be with music constantly.

Some artists really have this same frustration. I know I do sometimes. Some days what I really would like to do, is go in a cave and create whatever it is in my heart and soul to create, be it jewelry, a dance, a story, or even music, and then come out whenever I'm done, show the world and hopefully have at least one person go, "I see where you were coming from". Then I would go back into the cave and make whatever brilliant idea came next.

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, my house, my day job, my friends, and everything I do. But sometimes I want to exist purely for art. I think it would be amazing if we could all do that sometimes... all of us who wanted to anyways. Because of this desire, this need, this drive to be artistic, sometimes it is hard for us to connect with other people because we feel like no one understands. So we make art to show you, in the hopes that you will at least be able to say "I see where you're coming from." But for me, artistry doesn't just go one way.

Even though some days I would like to go into that lovely cave, I honestly enjoy connecting with people. I especially like picking out gifts or making jewelry for people as my little way of trying to understand them and then showing them that I understand. I will make jewelry for any situation just to have a chance to create, but I really like the chances I get that involve someone who's very forthcoming and very collaborative. If someone is requesting a gift for someone they know or care about, if the requester is someone I feel comfortable enough with, I'll ask for a picture of the person they're requesting the jewelry for, just so that I can better understand the nature of the person--pictures have a lot of clues in them that can help you understand someone's personality and preferences. I also like to ask about them, their hobbies, etc. I like try to match my jewelry to the person and situation rather than just making something random. So when I say "I would love to make your bridesmaids' necklaces for you." What I'm really saying is , "I want to use what I have to create something perfect for you, not just the pink silk dresses, or the stargazer lilies, or the blonde curly hair that you have, but you, your essence." A wedding, prom or any other formal situation is still all about self expression, and about showing the world a new side of you. I want to use my skills to help you do that. This is why I love art, because I can say anything with the right amount of patience and skill.

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