What would I say about “art” if someone asked me what I wanted to say about it?
The concept of artistic expression is something that has spoken to me for as long as I can remember, and yet I never recognized myself as an “artist” until I was well into my third decade on earth. Looking back, I can see how it has been my artistic nature that has brought me comfort and chaos all through my life.
There is something about seeing / hearing / reading something that did not exist until some man or woman had an idea, and set about putting that idea in motion, to bring it into reality by sheer force of will. While any form of artistic expression speaks to me, I have a special respect for painters and sculptors. Being a visually-oriented person, I find myself marveling in awe over a work that was previously a blank canvas, a plain piece of rock, a simple lump of clay, before the artist took action and transformed it to his vision.
Similarly, I have always been soothed by music – savage beast that I am. My earliest memories of spirituality were moments involving music, in any form. I noticed that God spoke to me through music, delivering messages I was meant to hear at a given time. Nature has a way of doing this too, but music was where I first noticed it. I feel musically inclined but without the training to develop a real talent for creating it. I would create a melody at a piano, beauty in simplicity without much structure or depth, and the joy would rise from the ivory through my fingertips and up through my heart to the top of my head. I teach myself to play acoustic guitar, and while I am even less fluid in my fingering on a guitar than I am on a piano, the result is the same: joy in my heart that approaches ecstasy at the sound of a note or a chord ringing out clear and true.
I am puzzled by the critic – a person who has made it their purpose to judge the creative output of a man or a woman who took nothing and made something simply because they had a desire to do so. I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion; I do not want that opinion thrown at me in the form of a judgment. To me, it feels like someone looking upon a garden of flowers and claiming they are not bright enough, or colorful enough, or fragrant enough to suit him. They are flowers! Their merit is in their existence! Why is that not enough? Why cut them down when they might bring joy to someone else?
And are not flowers God’s art? Certainly I do not intend to infer that the average artist might match God’s perfection, but I do submit that God might look upon an amateur in the act of painting a picture—creating in earnest, and with love for the place of spirit in which the painting develops—and God would display God’s equivalent of a human smile.
The Gift that has been bestowed on me is an eye and an ear for the written word. I failed to recognize writing as an art form in my youth. If I could do it, it was easy to take for granted, and if I could do it, it must not be of value, for my writing would never be valuable – this is what my young self was led to believe, through the casual comment of a man who told me about writing, “You’ll never make any money doing that.” And so I carried that lesson through to adulthood – abandoning my Divine purpose from a fear of perpetuating the poverty in which I was reared. The true artists were the sculptors, the painters, the musicians. How blind I was to the path that I might have led.
And yet, who am I to say that the path I took was not meant to show me what I was meant to learn about art along the way? Perhaps I was not meant to become scholarly about art, its appreciation and form and technique and history and marketable value. Perhaps I was simply meant to enjoy what I enjoy, do what feels true in accordance with what God gave me, and leave the discussion, dissection, and discourse to others.
What moves me, what speaks to me, what inspires me – these things are mine in any form, gifts from the Universe.
That is what I would say if someone asked me about my thoughts on art.