I’ve only told a couple of people about my plan to write. I’ll tell them how I used to write a lot, back when “blog” wasn’t really a word yet (please forgive that hipster faux pas). Given that writing is a fairly common hobby, I haven’t received any reactions that go beyond the run-of-the-mill, “Good for you!” type of affirming responses.
The shift in the conversation happens when the person with whom I’m discussing this asks me what I’m going to write about. The thing is, people LOVE little boxes. Nice, neat little boxes in which they can store perfectly categorized pieces of information. So, when I tell them I’m going to be writing a blog that’s partly about art making, and partly about personal development, I’m met with some level of confusion. Let me elaborate on that.
I think that the natural human tendency to prefer ONE label at a time, coupled with a rather dominant perception throughout our society that it’s important to specialize in ONE thing, causes my little plan to be met with some skepticism. I really don’t mind, though. I was skeptical too. In fact, I was SO skeptical, that it’s actually taken me years (and I mean that literally) to sit down and start working on this thing. I’ve convinced myself for a long, long time that it was a stupid idea and I needed to pick this niche or that one, not two. Funny thing, though–I changed my mind today.
I changed my mind because if somebody else wrote this blog, I would read it. It’s entirely possible that I am the only person who is equally fascinated by both subjects, just as it’s entirely possible that I am the only person who can see how these things would intertwine pretty nicely. I doubt that, though.
I’ve been profoundly interested (maybe slightly obsessed) with personal development and anything psychology related for as long as I can remember. The same is true for art making, and the thing about art is that it’s deeply personal. At least, I believe it is for most people. I used to assume I was compelled to make art just because I’m reasonably good at it, and it feeds my ridiculous desire to solve problems better than the newspaper puzzle page. After years of mulling it over, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that one huge reason (among several others that are perhaps less significant) I need to make art is the same reason I’m so enamored with studying personal development: I love progress.
Growing makes me feel alive. When I can learn a new skill, or improve upon an old one, I am invigorated. There are a lot of theories floating around about happiness. Some say it’s having a thing to look forward to, while others say it’s the people in your life. Personally, I think it’s those things and then some, but definitely in the top five is progress.
Now, I’ve been in love with art making for far longer than I’ve realized my love of progress. Any kind of art, but especially visual art of the two-dimensional persuasion. It simultaneously allows me to express myself in ways I can’t otherwise, to solve problems (spatial problems, color problems, compositional problems, etc), and to see myself grow. I used to think I chose this as my hobby or outlet, but after I’ve seen what happens when I don’t do it for any significant length of time, I now know that it’s simply something I have to do.
At this point, I’ve rambled more than I meant to when I started this post. I’m trying to work on that whole brevity thing. Anyway, in a nutshell: I firmly believe that growth is just as much of a “why” as expression is, and that art making is natural outlet for both (not just the latter). That will either sound like a load of crap to you, or it will make sense. If it’s the latter, I hope you’ll be back to visit my little corner of the interweb quite a lot.
’til next time,