Are You an Artist?
If you’re the kind of person who always sees and finds beauty, in small things and the natural world, then you’re probably an artist. Does that surprise you? I’d guess only on the surface of things. Because deep down you already know.
One of the biggest barriers for people when it comes to embracing creativity is the feeling that art, and the title of artist, belong to other people. And not just other people but elite people, a chosen few. We call them gatekeepers.
It’s deeply ingrained in us from a young age. The idea that artists are somehow other, and alone decide who may enter their realm.
Snobbery, elitism, go hand in hand with arts. And while we know that certain groups of humans, women for example, have been barred from and denied due recognition for their work, we have to wonder too, what have we lost among the many people past and present, because of snobbery, elitism, and gatekeepers?
I have thoughts.
First is when you know yourself really well, when you’re mindful, you see that the only gatekeeper with any power over you, is you.
Second is that when you’re mindful, you feel, at least deep down, what you are and you choose to embrace it or not. You choose to be an artist, without permission. You start to work and think and act like one. And when you do, people start treating you like one. But you have to be doing the work, and not just talking about the barriers, the things that hold you back. We all have barriers, we all could stay there.
At some point you just have to do the work, trust your instincts, trust the process. Even when they suck, which they do, a lot.
And you have to make peace with lack of understanding and encouragement. You may find it, but more likely not. It’s because everyone has been hit with the same club as you, the skewed ideas of art club. And here you are, a break out.
Because while acknowledgement is wonderful, a true artist will do the work regardless, because she has to. So maybe that’s the only true barometer. If you would do it regardless of fame or followers, because of some inner force you can’t explain.
So to my mind, the only true barrier for those of us who didn’t grow up in this particular privilege is getting brave for just long enough to get started. To break down the barriers imposed by gatekeepers.
That barrier is not only entry of course but how? In practical and other terms, how to be an artist in practice? The answer is easier and harder than you think, just do it. Start writing, start painting, start creating. Through doubt, through fear, through not knowing how, and trusting that.
The day of the gatekeeper is coming to an end, mainly because of internet and social media, a level playing field. A world of knowledge, inspiration, help, and guidance at your fingertips. Literally anyone can make their way, make their own waves. If they are doing things and have something to say that is real, and true to them.
So don’t be scared of the word artist, if that is what you are. Don’t let fear stop you from embracing all that you are, your creativity. It’s one of the great gifts of being human. And it’s free. It was taken from us ruthlessly. But they can’t keep it from us any longer. Do what I and countless others did, are doing.
Take it back. Who will stop you? No one, not anymore, only you.
That was just a few thoughts sparked by a conversation I had over the weekend. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Btw I know I’ve been quiet lately. You might think it’s because of work on my creativity eBook but it’s not. This past few weeks I completely changed my routine. I stopped writing, virtually unheard of this past five years, and I’ve barely posted online. I was feeling the need for a complete break so I made it happen. I stopped, everything. An action further helped by the latest in a long line of people making inappropriate demands on me and my time. I blame myself for I have not been strict enough on those points. At the end of the day who do I have personal responsibility for? Very few is the answer, family and close friends is all. I’ve had to learn this the hard way.
There is much I need to do, want to do. These past weeks I’ve done none of it. Somehow I knew that was what I needed now, I listened. I dumped the plan and instead I pottered around the house, with the girls, decorating, painting, and listened to the wind and rain. I’m listening to it now.
When I started blogging and from the time we built this house I felt a need for human company. I don’t feel that anymore. First, I found a few good people, and second I became much more a recluse, a lover of solitude. This is something that’s intensified of late. Where I live is quiet, rural. Lately it’s not enough, or barely. I crave the forest, the sea, the mountain. And go, as often as I can. They are thankfully close. And yet I find myself wishing we were even more cut off, more remote.
My creativity eBook is due to be launched on the 5th of August. I thought I’d be working on it these last days of July, I haven’t, and I feel grand about it. I will have a look to see where it’s at. Maybe tomorrow. Chances of that date now are slim, and I feel grand about that as well. I’ve also had to change my gathering plans for Dublin as October is suddenly full of social engagements plus my daughters college graduation and I can’t fit another. Instead, I’ll be having a book launch and meet-up in Lena’s Tea Room in Carrick on Shannon, whenever the book’s ready. I think that will be nice, and will perhaps suit more people.
A lot of this feeling I know, is quiet confidence on the books and process front, and self-care/protection on the other. The novel is written and I’m proud of it. I haven’t secured an agent yet but that doesn’t change the facts. I know it’s good and will speak for itself. The creativity eBook is nearly there, still on track for this year. Family life is wonderful. I have done the work and will again, everyone’s well, and I’m happy. That’s enough for now.
xo I’ll see you when I see you, Jane