So I was having a conversation with a stranger a few days ago about art. She drew, her husband was a musician, and I was a writer. I can’t remember the exact comment I made, but she responded with something along the lines of, “well, you get what I mean, we’re all artists.”
For whatever reason this simple statement blew me away. It’s not groundbreaking, and it’s not like I haven’t heard it or thought of it before. But having someone else recognize the fine lines between the arts was, to put it simply, a refreshing moment.
But here’s the part I hope I explain right: what really defines art? What defines creativity? Why have we given it such a narrow definition as a sculpture, or a painting, or a sonnet?
My argument here, is that there is no real definition of art. Or if there is one, there shouldn’t be. If we, as self-proclaimed artists, claim to have such open minds, why are we so cliquish when it comes to who is allowed in our “art club?” It makes us hypocrites.
If art is about expression, and the core of our work is anything less than honest, I don’t really want to be part of it. I’ll take my art, call it something else, and do it elsewhere.
Maybe I’m making a bigger deal of it than it needs to be, but now that you’re thinking about it to, you can’t tell me that it doesn’t bother you. I think you’re creative. I think you have the potential to be creative if you let yourself. And I think creativity comes in more shapes and sizes that us “artists” let on.
I could never do what you do as good as you do it, and that’s okay. You could never do what I do as good as I do it, and I don’t want to make you. You’re not supposed to do what I do. You’re supposed to do what you do. Follow me?
Yes, it’s good to branch out and try new things. I have a friend who wasn’t into dancing start to improv, by herself, in her room. No audience. No judgment. And she loved it.
She would give herself new boundaries to break. Lay a towel down, don’t move past the edges. I never saw her dance, and I don’t need to. It’s not in her movements or her style or whether she’s good. It’s in the feeling she gets during her dance, and after when she tells me about how much she got off her chest by dancing to no one.
I think that’s art. Not the dancing itself, but the expression.
Now don’t take this post all serial-killer on me and do something creepy. I’ve seen way to many Law and Order episodes to know that people are crazy. So remember that art is also honest, and doing terrible things (broad definition here, but you get what I mean) is anything but.
Looking back I don’t think I ever really formulated or wrapped up my argument. But I also don’t think it’s necessary. I got off my chest what I wanted to, and this monologue is now art.