For a year now, I’ve been watching people. I watch them at restaurants, movie theaters, church, and TJ Maxx. I watch them on TV, at the bank, on the street, at the airport. I think about God, how it says in 2 Chronicles that his eyes range to and fro throughout the whole earth in search of those whose hearts are fully committed. I’m searching for something else, but my eyes feel to and fro-ish while I do it. I can’t help it. I’m looking for artists.
It’s a hot topic, art. Last year Annie declared 2011 as a year that we will make art. Well, she declared it to me, in an email. And we did make art, yes we did. And I was challenged with what that actually meant, making art. I found myself clumping the painting type in with the living type and sometimes that was uncomfortable, though I couldn’t place why. Now I’m distracted with curiosity.
Everyone has their definitions but if you believe them all, I fear this art begins to lose all meaning. Most of them draw a clear line between artists (writers, singers, painters, dancers) and non-artists (mathemeticians, bankers, scientists, administrators, politicians). Then there is another group of people who find themselves between the artist they either used to or want to be, and the life they have now as a mother, a temp worker, a daycare owner, a student.
I realize a lot of people don’t consider themselves artists and have no desire to do so. But then there are a whole ‘nother group of people who long to identify themselves as artists but are terrified to do so. And in the midst of all this, I sit with my question – why is this three letter word so mysterious? All people are creative. But are all people artists? Is it important to make that distinction or not?
At the yogurt shop this weekend, I sat next to my kids on an unusually warm January Saturday. As I ate my vanilla yogurt with strawberries on top (and also oreos who am I kidding?) I watched a woman with a pink apron on zip around the shop like she had a jet pack on her back. She wiped the counters, changed out the sprinkles, chatted with the customers. She was pleasant, lighthearted, intentional. “She works like she owns the place,” The Man said to me.
I thought the same thing but with different words. She worked like an artist. She was motivated beyond what we could see, doing more than what was required. She seemed to fit there. Art isn’t so much the things we do but the way in which we do them. May I ask you? If you consider yourself an artist, tell us why. And if you don’t, tell us why not.