It took me a long time to accept that I am, in fact, an artist. My tool of choice being not a pen or paintbrush, but a heavy piece of equipment, I have often felt the disconnect between “my” kind of art and what I considered to be the “typical three:” painting, drawing, and sculpting. Nevertheless, Merriam Webster has me pinned in this category: a person who practices any of the various creative arts. Webster also tells me that an artist is a person skilled at a particular task or occupation, likening a surgeon to an artist in the use of his or her scalpel. It seems that the very definition, as with art itself, is subjective in nature.
This may be why I’ve never considered myself one. Sure, I loved coloring books as much as the next kid, but coloring in the lines was never my calling. Still today, I love the idea of sitting down to paint a masterpiece, but pen-to-paper leaves me idle with nothing but frustrations of ideas that never come into fruition.
Lately, however, I’ve discovered that being an artist may be two occupations in one: it is about honing your craft and specific method of choice (painting, dancing, photography, sculpting, directing, etc.) and it is also about appreciating and being influenced by other works of art (and in turn influencing others). It occurred to me recently, as I walked through the Art Institute of Chicago, that art never exists in a vacuum. Art inspires us to try things and cast visions and it exists not just for ourselves.
I’m realizing that my art has an effect on those around me and in this day those around the world (thank you internet). If I don’t consider myself an artist in the very sense of its definition, how am I living up to my full potential and passion? So I say to you right now: draw, pick up that pencil or pen or tablet; paint, go buy those watercolors you’ve been eyeing; photograph, capture the world’s beauty in a way that only you can see it (because that’s how God created you).
To close, I want to share with you an excerpt from a recent Boundless.org article:
If you don’t consider yourself an artist, consider yourself a type of billboard, or at least a story-maker. People are watching how you live your life. If you are compelling in the way you live out your faith, if you embody a righteousness, conviction, sincerity and gentle kindness that people long to see, you deposit a seed. This is a challenge, not to live disingenuously, but instead to find God at your core and listen to the original Creator and who He is calling you to be.
We are art. We are movie. We are song. We are on display by how we live our lives. But if you make art the masses want to surround themselves with, you are multiplying the effect. Use that power and do it with finesse and swagger because we have been given power to shape our world.
And now I want to ask you this; whether you consider yourself a Christian or not: Do you consider yourself an artist? How are you sharing your passion with the world?