Our natural minds are brilliant sorting boxes, making connections between things and labeling them accordingly as a way to understand our world. We do this as a way of gaining knowledge, but default to the practice as a shortcut, a way to assume we know more than we do about a thing, about a person, about a neighborhood, about ourselves than we do.
If we are, as Buddhist monk, philosopher, teacher (oh! there are some labels for you!), Thich Nhat Hanh “…here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness,” then our labels become an impediment, become disabling. Our work, then, is to see beyond labels, and beyond the walls we build around categories, and to see even beyond our self-labels.
Pondering my long-held identity as an artist, it occurred to me that it is a way to view myself as “special” – or at least more special than “not-artists.” It is like we are all moths in a box, each certain we are the rarest butterfly. And in this certainty, we overlook the subtle beauty of moths, intricate in pattern and color and shape.
Given this context, I explored rejecting the label, and found myself comfortable in doing so. I do not intend giving up living creatively, imagining things, bringing them into existence. However, I may lose the label itself as non-useful, or use it as a way to explore whether I have let the label “artist”and its opposite get in the way of true connection and understanding of myself and of others.
(aka: fodder for future posts)
Backdate post of Inktober gallery
Connection to the world through drawing it (or writing detailed descriptions or…)
Art as the activity rather than artist as the identity, Art-making, not Artist
The beauty of the lamps hanging in the coffee shop across the street as viewed from my kitchen window
The concept of creative inspiration as a stranger we meet on the road, with whom we choose to engage or not
“Artist” as a way of seeing and being as much as actively creating
Mailboxes for the port0lets
The idea that the desire for validation, for me, as a poor substitute for what I really want: collaborative, creative communication.
It is said that it takes 30 days to make a habit.
Four years ago today, with members of my creative community, I started a little project: Art Everyday Creative Challenge. The project and facebook group originated as a sister project to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), in which we join our literary brothers and sisters by dedicating ourselves to making art daily for the month of November in lieu of writing a novel.
Since then, we have had deaths, births, and lots and lots of creating. Members have participated in Inktober twice, been challenged to take black and white photos, started other groups (some of which meet in person). We keep on sharing, and making, and encouraging each other along the way.
Some of us show and sell; some of us create for fun or joy or expression or therapy, but we all keep making, or wanting to make. And here I am again, relaunching for the month.
Unlike most other challenges, this one is open, it is broad. You can sketch, paint, write, play music, anything artistic.
If you want me to share your stuff on this blog, let me know. If you want to join us over on facebook, send a request: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1420482231502651/
To spur those who aren’t sure what to do, today I offer this random prompt generator: https://www.magatsu.net/generators/art/
If you have suggestions to share with each other, we can offer each other individual challenges and prompts as well.