Wake up! WAAAAAAKE UUUUUP!!!
Sorry to yell. I may be preaching to the choir here…but we all need to wake up. Myself included. I write about this a lot in my music, but I still forget a lot. As I wrote in this story behind the song, “Sleepwalking” was a kick in the pants to myself. “Sleepwalking” is the reason I’m going to WDS. “Sleepwalking” was the catalyst for moving ahead with my re-prioritized life. So I wonder, if I had not become a songwriter, where would I be now? Still sleepwalking through life? (Click here to hear a rough demo of this song.)
See, art is how we wake up. And by art, I mean making life a work of art, through making art, being in art, and seeing art around us. No more just living and trying to make it through the next 5 minutes.
It doesn’t happen overnight. And it will never happen if you don’t START. With baby steps. I mean, you can go cold turkey if you want, but I have no idea how to be successful with that. If you figure it out, let me know!
Where to – and how to start? Ask yourself where art fits into your own life. And pay attention to art – it’s not just “noise.” Whether it’s the music you listen to in the car, the architecture you see as you drive through the city, or the vibrant or even muted colors you see in nature walking down the street, it’s all worth noticing more, all worth paying attention to more.
Write it down. Write it down with an actual pen or pencil and a piece of paper. Typing it isn’t the same – it doesn’t trigger the tactile feeling and physical memory of handwriting. Do it with a crayon and a napkin if you have to. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Carry it with you. Remind yourself. Take 10 seconds to jot it down when you can.
Have you ever looked at a broken down building and wonder where there is art in it? Walked down a dusty street in a too-busy city? Who are all these people, and where are they going? What are they thinking? Do they notice or realize how they are part of a greater whole? Art is the story behind what you see. And when you start to see it, to REALLY see it, you can start to BE it too.
Start creating. It’s hard, and scary, especially at first. The hardest thing to do after you make art once is to KEEP MAKING IT. It doesn’t matter what form – it’s whatever speaks to you once you start listening.
And then – share it. Find a community of artists who will understand what it’s like to make art, to take the risk of sharing it, and yet – do it anyway. Not for “success”, although that may come. Share art so that you can be present to the art of others. Engage in the process with them. It’s a wonderful, lifting feedback loop.
Sometimes art and inspiration won’t come when you want it to. That’s okay – but that doesn’t mean you are not part of that artist community. This is why it’s ever so much more important to be just as present for others’ art as you are in creating your own. Don’t stop listening. Inspiration will come at the right time.
Soon, once you are creating art regularly – without judgment, without worrying about whether or not someone likes it or criticizes it, you will be in the next phase: Becoming. You are BECOMING art. An artist. An artist of paint, an artist of sculpture, and artist of music, and artist of writing…An Artist of LIFE. Imagine embracing your whole creative self, and your place in a world full of art and beauty in the unexpected, the mundane, the every day life.
Your world will become a better place for it. You will see color where you haven’t seen it before. You will hear music where before you heard silence, or worse, the overwhelm of white noise.
Just imagine if we could influence others to take the same approach, to be Artists of Life. How awake and alive we could be.
Maybe I sound naive. But what’s the alternative? Waking up one day (assuming you actually wake up some day) and realizing you have missed everything around you?
I’ll take art, please. Who’s with me?