June 1, 2009

Artistic identity.

Mal at turning*turning is asking readers to consider: How do I make time to make? (She's also offering a mini-quilt giveaway, which is highly motivating me to respond to the question! Nice work, Mal!)

My answer to this question is less about the logistics of How than the underlying foundation of Why. All the How in the world doesn't spur me to actually create art; it's the Why that paves the way and makes all those silly little logistics seem very easy.

Seven years ago, when I was 27 (probably not coincidentally...that whole Saturn Return thing), I experienced an artistic reawakening--my own personal Renaissance. I woke up to an awareness that I had been sleepwalking through an endless winter in my personal and professional lives, and I woke up to a tiny vulnerable desire to Make Something of my life.

I began by Making Little Somethings, physically, by hand. I didn't think of myself as an artist before this time, but suddenly making art was all I could think about. I started keeping a sketchbook (although it was mostly writing for a long time, and often still is). I started buying things like paint pens and fabric and trying to figure out, through experimentation, how one might use them.

It was an explosion of creativity that had been building up for a very long time, a volcano of artistic identity submerged beneath a lifetime of not knowing who I was or what I wanted. This explosion led me gradually to my current professional identity as an art therapist. It also changed my worldview in a profound way, especially after I took my first drawing and painting classes. I learned to see differently. The world (including myself, as a vital part of the world) became more vibrant and beautiful.

Art has given me a way to know myself, and a new way to see others.

Given all of that... the How is nearly irrelevant, because I Must Somehow. There is nothing more important than connecting with my deepest awareness as an offering to the world.

1 comment:

  1. This post is just lovely, Tracy, and I'm so glad you wrote it. (I even highlighted it on my blog! Hope you get others over here to read it.) My story is so similar. I should probably write it out. You'd be amused at the similarities in it.