I remember the day that my thinking changed about art and what it means to be an artist. Until that day, I thought an artist was a painter or someone who drew, who sold their art for money. I suppose I thought most people who could be considered artists were famous, like Monet or Normal Rockwell.
Then in the early days of blogging I stumbled upon an odd little blog by a Jewish-turned-Presbyterian free spirit sort of woman who wore tiered skirts she’d thrifted one on top of the other, wrote zines, and called herself an artist. She made a lot of different things, including altered books which I didn’t and don’t understand. I don’t think she really sold her art. She didn’t have an Etsy shop or a booth at a craft fair. Yet she called herself an artist. I was fascinated and read her entire blog in a couple days, many months’ worth of writing. I turned this idea over and over in my mind that an ordinary person could be an artist, that perhaps I too could be an artist.
For many years I said that I was not creative. My sisters were creative, I said, but I only copied what I saw other people do. I was really very unoriginal. I loved to create but none of my ideas were my own, so I didn’t feel as if I could claim them. Something happened, though, as I copied others. It took a few years, but after awhile I started getting my own ideas. At first they were pretty lame, but I was trying. Now I am full of ideas! Especially when I have a little extra time and my schedule is less pressured, creativity flows through me in a torrent, so many ideas for things to write and make that I sometimes can’t even sleep.
I fully believe that all people are made in the image of a creative God and that his creativity resides inside us, just waiting to be unleashed. For most of us, though, that creativity is stifled. Maybe we’ve been tightly controlled and haven’t had the opportunity to spread our creative wings, maybe our educational environment stifled creativity, or maybe we have been conditioned to be takers of the creativity of others (such as through recorded music and television), not contributors to the creative world.
In any case, I now know that I’m creative. As for calling myself an artist—well—I don’t know. I don’t really think of myself as an artist, but I do think of myself as someone who makes art or wants to make art. This can take many forms, from a craft project to arranging a room to blogging to learning to take pictures. I love the concepts of beauty and design, but I find that I am very halting in my own expressions. I find myself saying things like, “Blogging helps me become a better artist,” so maybe in my heart I already know that I am!
What do these bike images have to do with being an artist? Nothing whatsoever. I found them all at Riding Pretty.