“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”― Stephen King
The act of making, is the act of creating a life. And no I’m not talking about babies…
The act of making something can be bold, or simple, depending on how much courage you think is required to make the ‘thing’. Is it dinner, and you’ve made that dish 100 times before? Or is it a souffle that you’re attempting for the first time? Creating, making, is the act of making a life, literally, but not in the sense that you are birthing offspring to be nurtured and curated constantly.
Quite the opposite is true.
What you make is your gift to the world, and just like when you give any gift, you need to hand that ‘thing’ over and let it go, out into the world. Then you turn your attention to the next ‘thing’. In the process, you learn more about yourself that you could ever hope to drinking wine and talking to your friends (not that there’s anyting wrong with that!).
The process of creating an artwork, writing, reading or even the simple act of looking at another’s artwork are all intimately connected for me. Art truly has the power to move us; to tears or to action!
My first response to any life-event is to write it, take photos, talk about it, paint it. Art can be miraculous as therapy, calming and peaceable, can stir up deep and often long-forgotten memories, visceral feelings. Use it, heal, write it out, get that out and then make something else!
Not all art needs an audience. You are allowed to keep somethings to yourself. Especially if it still hurts. And you’re allowed to burn stuff, too. That can very very cleansing!
The problem is that there is so much stuff caught up with making. People have the belief that they are not creative (not true), that what they make needs to have value (who gets to decide that?) and, if it doesn’t have some kind of magical ‘value’ then the time and money expended in making the thing is somehow wasted.
Now if the ‘thing’ was the important element here, then perhaps some of that could be true. If you’re a chef who buys a whole bunch of ingredients and decides to be creative and ends up with something inedible with a restaurant full of paying guests, then yeah… But even the most successful chefs experiment, make mistakes! How do you think they came up with Nouvelle Cuisine?
If you are just starting out it’s okay, no it’s crucial, that you muck around, experience, play with materials and enjoy the process.
The ‘thing’ will be…something…sure, but the final product will be you.
Originally published with errors on Medium. Frankly, it was a bit of a mess.