The question, “What is Art?” has been around forever. Some feel that defining what 'art is’ is not important but determining, 'what art is important,’ should be our objective. Now I am not an art scholar or philosopher, but I do write a blog, so I have that going. I think anytime conscious energy is expended to alter the environment, the result of that exertion is art. Some may think that this is too broad and inclusive of a definition but think about it. Your life is the creation of your determinations in the events you face, what you choose to wear, what face we show the world, and the quality of our work. Our everyday labor is artwork, and these daily sketches become paintings or sculptures of weeks or months, which accumulate into masterworks of years and a lifetime legacy.
No matter what you choose to do or not to do, you’re creating and altering the world around you. The way you drive is your dance. The house you build is your sculpture. Your communication is your song; your web design is your poem; your face and demeanor are your painting. Every act you put conscious energy into, be that the food you prepare or the service your render, is art that you are putting your name on and sending out in the world. We can debate the form, function, and importance of this art, but we are always creating.
The key then is to determine our creative source. Do we create from a place of love or anger, joy or fear, forgiveness or revenge? That is our power and our choice. Famed writer Victor E. Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Having survived a Nazi Concentration Camp during the second world war, Viktor wrote the book Man’s Search for Meaning. He dealt head-on with the greatest cruelty inflicted by humans upon each other. The experience taught him this overriding lesson, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”
We have all heard the old cliché, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” That is true, but books don’t get to choose, you do. Each sunrise is a new canvas, a blank page, a block of clay. What do you want to make? What do you want to say about yourself? What are you going to create? Keep in mind that it is more common to make an error than to do things ideally. Every painter will spill a little paint or make bad brush strokes; every sculptor will struggle with the material; every writer will have writers’ block. Not every work is a masterpiece, even for the Masters. Small, consistent efforts yield great results; the keyword is consistent. Remember to take a step back from time to time, squint past your raised thumb at your work to check perspective and progress, oh, and smile.You are an artist, the most important one in your life. Own it. Find passion in your craft, and it will naturally bring what you seek back to you, like attracts like. Someday when we meet, I look forward to seeing the portfolio of your days in your eyes and smile.