I am an artist. When I was young, I believed this. I thought, by the time I reached high school, that I’d grown out of it. After all, academic prep for postsecondary education meant deskwork, homework, and lectures.
I never thought about the ones among me who knew they were artists, who didn’t deny their quirks and idiosyncratic view of the world. I, however, wasn’t sure I wanted to be conventional, but I did want to fit in. Being an artist would have been a sure giveaway to my “different-ness.”
Art unveils what is hidden. Only within the last five years have I viewed my sensitivity as a pathway, a portal to reveal the nuances of life so few notice. An artist’s eye is receptive, her heart prophetic. What she bears and gives birth to is an authentic reflection of her interior vision. And she sees the depth of what pain can teach her. She understands art as an expression of what may otherwise never be known or understood any other way, except by way of what she creates.
Art shatters. It annihilates our stereotypes and prejudices. It challenges our worldview. Its fragility is conversely its strength, because it bespeaks a gift that widens the world’s perspective on social issues, concerns integral to the human condition, suffering. In one essay or score or painting, an artist shares the drama of both life and death, not truly cyclic but more of a spiral.
That is the nature of the artistic process – to spiral, to weave, to mold, to shape.
The shape of one’s art grows with the artist. There is discovery as it moves with the artist’s motion. It is fluid, alive, changing its landscape or terrain or scope.
But the point of the artist’s work is to give birth to some meaningful movement of the heart, in such a way that the viewer or reader or listener might be left breathless or speechless, yet also convicted or encouraged.
Artists give light to the darkness. They do not settle for what is, because they still see the possibility, the opportunity, the invitation. And they are unabashed in using their giftedness to reach the lifeless, lukewarm souls who need to be startled awake.