I’m a terrible painter. Or, maybe I’m not. I’m really not sure, but I am certain I won’t be winning any awards. I’ve never taken a class, I couldn’t tell you what delineates a classical artist from a contemporary artist, and I have to admit I’m not all that moved by Picasso.
But I love art. I love the art that I love and I love that because it’s art, it doesn’t matter why. The only judgement that matters is whether or not I want it in my home, in my life. I love the way my heart flutters when my friends (who are bona fide artists) share a piece of work with me. I love the way a simple streak of color inspires a smile. Or tears.
At the Boston Museum of Fine Arts I came upon a bronze sculpture depicting a couple dancing together. The texture, the subtlety drew me in and I found myself ravenously consuming every curve until I realized with some measure of shock that I had been walking circles around the display. I found myself yearning to connect more deeply with the piece and it was all I could do to keep my hands to myself. I had tears in my eyes when I finally tore myself away from the faceless dancers.
I’d have emptied my savings account to take that work home with me, though even then I could never have covered the cost.
Art is a leaden term, heavy with–well, everything; emotion, expression, personal experience, cultural influence, expectations. The word itself is at once succinctly definitive and elusively vague, open to criticism and misinterpretation and categorization. Art is ultimately a communication between creator and witness that exists outside the limits of language and a communication between creator and medium. Creator and self.
Art is god. I don’t mean, you know, GOD… but perhaps the closest manifestation humans will ever get to god-force energy. After all, God as defined by traditional religion encompasses and embodies the action of creation. The creator of all things. THE creator.
Maybe that’s why, when I feel disconnected and wrong, or when I feel lost and alone, or when I feel like the world is the scariest place I could ever imagine… I paint. Or write. Or draw. Or decorate. Or glue pennies to a table. I feel like I can get out of my head and out of my body and empty myself. I can imagine my arms or legs or fingers or whatever just floating free, at the whim of the universal force of creation, like clumsy, fleshy paintbrushes. And in those moments I experience myself differently, I experience LIFE differently.
Maybe in the act of creation I’m getting as close as I ever will be (well, except for that time when I was dead for a couple minutes) to the god-force that lives in me. (It lives in you too, by the way, at least as far as I’m concerned.)
So maybe we should all take a little more time in our lives to play god. To create. Anything. Dried pasta glued to paper, music, paint spatters, pet rocks with googly eyes, sparkle tipped pine cones, cakes that taste like toothpaste… anything.
Create – because that’s when you’re closest to god. Create badly. Create messily. Just create, and set your god-self free.