Art = Life

Matisse – The Moorish Screen – 1921

Art doesn’t have to mean painting, or sculpture or writing.

Art is how you live your life

Henri Matisse, the painter Picasso believed to be the most talented in history, craved calm and beauty. He wanted to make art using pure colours inspired by the bright Mediterranean light. Like many of us, he didn’t want to sit in a drab office all day and punch numbers or write in a ledger. He felt compelled to do create art; it was his life purpose.

We all want to live a life of purpose. Henri did something that I wouldn’t recommend to anyone these days, putting his family in financial hardship to pursue his art, until he received a small inheritance. They weren’t as badly off as the Monets or some of the impoverished artists who remain semi-obscure to this day even though their works hang in major museums the world over. I don’t know about you, but I’m not expecting an inheritance any time soon so I have to create meaning (and income) in other ways.

I think we could have done a far better job while creating civilisation. I can’t believe that a vast majority of the human race wound up here on earth to battle each day to put food on the table and another huge number to work in jobs they hate to pay bills and die.

And I hate what we’ve done to art; made it into this confusing, untouchable industry. That’s not what art is about. Art is Life and there’s so much more to life, but it’s up to us to make it happen, those of us who are lucky enough to have a roof over our heads, to know where our next meal is coming from.

What is your art? I mean, how do you make meaning in your life? Contrary to popular belief, life doesn’t really have a meaning other than what we give it. How do you give your life meaning? I paint and I write but not everyone has to make paintings or write books. There are as many ways to make art as there are people. Georgia O’Keeffe once said that a first-rate cake is more creative than a second-rate painting, but for me, creating is creating!

Who’s judging our creative output? Ourselves? The buying public? Our inner-critic that sounds remarkably like our dad?

If you make a picture, hang it on the wall. If you get sick of it, paint over it! Or give it away. But if you want to make a cake, grab a recipe because I’ve had a cake that was ‘just thrown together’ and it’s not always great eating. Creative, yes! Yummy, not so much.

Matisse – Odalisque – 1926
If you don’t have an inheritance to fall back on, you might have to rely on your painting skills…