About 10 years ago, I felt a longing to express myself via personal adornment that I couldn't shake. It started out by searching for jewelry and clothing that best expressed how I wanted to present myself to the world. I collected art jewelry...knowing on some deep inner level that it was important for me spiritually to try and individuate from the mass produced and heart-less commercialized ideas about what it meant to be wholly human.
There was another feeling that I couldn't shake that my searching couldn't buy... and that was the fulfillment of my own creative potential. It was a palpable longing that I was able to identify with crystal clear clarity after some serious inner inquiry. I was 37 at the time...and had to personally battle the ideas that it was too late for me to begin to earnestly pursue art-making.
That was the hardest part of becoming creative on purpose...giving myself permission to start where I was at.
Fortunately, I had a friend that was 10 years older than me at the time...where I am now, and she started painting for the first time, ever. Her entry into 2-D art-making was via her love of photography. She bought a digital camera and started shooting scenes that moved her as she traveled through her day. She used her photos as a starting place to paint by using them as her subject matter. Eventually, she rented studio space and set up her environment to paint professionally. Her studio cradled her emerging artist-self by providing her with the space needed to grow with her inner intention to do so.
She wins awards now for her work...she threw herself into showing up and doing the work necessary to peel away the shit she wasn't; had never been, really-- and like the Phoenix rising from the ashes of its previous self, she is a thriving artist today.
At least a few times a week, as people come through the studio, I hear someone express to me that they just don't have a creative bone in their body.
I have to restrain myself, usually, from going down 'that' road with them.
But if I had all the space to share with them what I have learned, and if they really wanted to change that belief, this is what I would say...
If you have a body, you are inherently creative. To be alive is to be creative. You create the home environment, the work environment and the social environment that you currently experience your life's moments through. If you are alive, you are creative. Your bones, your muscles, your mind, personality and your soul all work together to create the life you are living, right now.
The only difference between you and me is that I understand that I am responsible for my life and you most likely don't. If you don't know that you are the one creating the life you live, than you are, and will continue to be, a victim of your own thoughts and beliefs, and your life will surely reflect that back to you, over and over again.
I am in the process of house hunting. A house has segregated areas...the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, the bathroom and the bedrooms. It's designed, creatively, to support those particular functions of life. I am looking for home that has an art/spiritual room too.
You have to make space for that which you want to experience; or at least, get your ass to a particular place in space in order to have that experience.
You will never experience sky diving until you step on a plane and strap on a parachute. To have a sky-diving experience, you have to get to the sky and be willing to throw yourself out into immense space.
You won't experience art-making unless you make a space for it in your life. When people have babies, they don't put the cradle in the bathroom. It's not an appropriate space to care for a baby, right?
They create a space for the baby to support the baby's needs, as well as the parents. Generally this is called a nursery or the baby's room.
We all create space for what we value. We may also create a lot of space for things that we don't value because we refuse to take responsibility for what we truly desire in our life.
I have created space for my jewelry-making in every place we have lived over the last 10 years. It was always a priority. I made my living arrangement decisions with it as a priority.
I also make showing up in that space a priority. It takes discipline and time to make art. You have to show up for a few years committed to making shitty art before you will ever start making good art. Or art that is reflective of that which you feel is good and true and authentic.
Like life...your art evolves.
Babies learn how to speak one word at a time. They don't even start making that much sense for YEARS. It's the same with art-making. It takes YEARS to start stringing together ideas and concepts combined with skills and technical processes.
So...in my hypothetical conversation with those that Don't Have a Creative Bone in the Their Body, it boils down to this:
- If you are alive, you are creative
- Take responsibility for your thoughts and beliefs
- Intentionally make the space in your life to experience what you desire
- Show up.
- Show up even when the stars and moon aren't in perfect fucking alignment and the house isn't clean
- Invest in and learn the technical skills to pull off your particular form of self-expression
- Play with your medium. Repeat over and over until something emerges that you like.
- Drill down what that something is that you like and explore it from every angle that you can think of.
- Keep doing this process over and over for the rest of your life and extract every ounce of joy you can each time you intentionally show up in your space/place.
- Remember that as a human, all of your bones are creative. Always have been and always will be until your bones are either cremated or put to rest in an expensive box 6 feet under. And with that...
Create until you Die!