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On being an artist: is it this simple?

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From http://www.geocities.com/debverhoeven/beinganartist/artist.htm

Contrary to a previous post and link about what it takes to be an artist, this web page asserts that if you think you are an artist, you are. It takes nothing more than messing about with whatever medium you choose. Even just being a slob on a regular basis makes you a “slob-artist”?

You Are an Artist

You may think you are not an artist at all, but here’s the good news–we are all artists. I’m not just talking about painting, drawing and sculpting artists, either.

* If you write you are a word-artist
* If you make music you are a music-artist
* If you make wonderful dishes you are a food-artist
* If you make messes you are a clutter-artist “

I think my regular readers probably have an idea of how I feel about this one–I am not in agreement with this statement. I think one can play with a lot of different creative mediums and not necessarily be an “artist” at it. I sometimes paint, but I am not a paint-artist. I crochet for fun, but don’t consider myself an “artist” in crochet–it’s a hobby, and a fun one, but it is not my art. I play with a lot of things: screenprinting, sidewalk chalk, knitting, gardening, drawing, home decorating, music, and much much more. So driving my car every day makes me a driving artist? Surely there is some greater definition than repetition to define an artist, yes?

Some people may have many different “arts” with which they practice being an “artist”–in my strong opinion, one need not be confined to one discipline (a key word, IMO), nor does one even need to excel at it to claim being an artist at something–but does just using a given medium make one an artist with it? What do you think?

The rest of the article does have some fun advice for keeping the creative juices flowing though…

You Are Creative

If you think you are not creative can consider that you are simply not using or recognizing your creativity. Perhaps you are afraid of doing something new or different? (Gasp! What will the neighbors say?)

Ask A Child

If you want the best advise on how to be creative and spontaneous, talk to a three-year-old. Small children are natural artists. They don’t just make a study of creativity, they live it. Everything is new and every day is an adventure.

Stretch back and think of the time when you were small. Do you remember how you saw the world then?

Creativity comes naturally to all of us. We simply forget how. It’s not as much that creativity is not taught in school, it’s more that it is un-taught. Children are taught to fit in and follow the rules. They can no longer color outside the lines…

Just Do It

Artists’ block, writers’ block – we all know what that is. We want to create something but then we freeze. We can go for days or weeks with no ideas.

This is the time to let your inner child through and just play. Not everything you start has to become a “finished product”. Splash your paints around. Write silly limericks. Draw doodles. Have fun. Artists were never meant to turn their work out assembly-line style.

Keep A Journal

Journals are good tools for stimulating creativity. There is no reason you can’t keep more than one journal going at the same time. You can keep different journals for different activities or different aspects of your personality.

Ideas For Journals

* Daily journal
* Hopes & dreams journal
* Garden journal
* Creativity journal

What to keep a journal in? Anything you like – a blank book, a spiral notebook, a three-ring binder . . . or maybe you could be really creative and make a journal from scratch. Perhaps learn some old-fashioned book-binding, or tie the pages together with ribbon.

Keep a sketchbook as a journal. Instead of writing your feelings and observations, draw them.

Sketch your feelings; create your own symbols for them.

Draw silly caricatures of people who annoy you.
Morning Pages to Root Out Your Icky Stuff

In The Artists Way, Julia Cameron suggest writing “morning pages”. In a nutshell, these are three pages, first thing in the morning, written down very quickly. These are meant to sift out the garbage which is keeping you from your creativity.

Anything bothering you or something you have refused to face will pop up in your Morning Pages. Write it all out and get rid of it.

Don’t Forget Your Dreams

Dreams contain a wealth of creative ideas in them. Many people have used them for problem-solving, gone to bed with something un-resolved and dreamt the solution. Write down your dream as soon as you wake up. Note colors and feelings as well as the events.

Don’t forget colored markers, colored pencils and crayons.

Break All the Rules!

Be an artistic rebel. Do a picture and forget every rule you learned about balance and composition. Put the main subject smack-dab in the middle of the picture. Keep the colors unbalanced. Draw people out of proportion. Draw really trite and predictable images. Do anything that would horrify an Art teacher.

If you are a writer, forget the basic rules. Write about things you know absolutely nothing about. Use bad grammer. Make lots of spelling errors. Write a story with no plot.

Now, didn’t that feel good? A bit like running with scissors, eh?

Your artistic self is not to be taken seriously. Art should be fun. It doesn’t have to say anything, and not everyone has to like it”

Doesn’t all that sound FUN?! Now go try it! I know I am going to!”

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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