“Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege”
When was the last time you pushed yourself to experiment and try something completely new? Something outside the box, something creative, something a tiny bit terrifying? We often forget the creative wonder of childhood and get caught up in adult lives that can be devoid of that magic spark. The doing of something, with your hands, just because.
Think back to grade school. Or, if you happen to have grade school children, you won’t have to think back at all, because it’s happening right now. Drawing, colouring, painting, playing dress up, playing make believe, singing, doodling, dreaming. Creativity lives in us all, whether we’re athletes, bookworms, accountants, or busy mothers. The problem is, we grow up and tend to forget it’s there.
To a large degree, we’ve become a society of consumption rather than a society of creation. Mind you, all of our modern-day diversions required creative genius to dream up in the first place, but I think we can agree that unless you work on Google campus, these types aren’t thick on the ground. I’m watching Netflix with the best of them, and believe me, it's an amazing invention. But could it be, just possibly, that by jumping wholesale into the world of constantly accessible entertainment, of social media clicks and virtual reality, that we’ve given away something of ourselves?
The last time I took an art class it was an irreverent and refreshing departure from my everyday life, full of quirky characters one wouldn’t normally meet. It was also, much to my surprise, the purest form of being present. I don’t think a meditation class could have achieved the mindfulness I experienced as I worked, ever-so-slowly, ever-so-carefully, on my humble canvas. The result was less impressive than the journey in getting there. I loved every minute of it.
Life, as it does, gets in the way, and it’s now been months and months since I so much as glanced at my lovely art kit. I’ve been really busy being an adult. Yet there is a yearning, and I think it’s a societal one, to get back to basics, to lean in with every fibre of our being, to ditch the electronics, if only briefly, and to create.
This doesn’t have to be an either/ or equation. I have a friend who knits the most incredible sweaters while taking in the Bachelorette. Another whose passion is canning jams while catching up on podcasts. And yet another, in her beautiful loft studio, who listens to heavy metal while splashing paint around. There is no one way to go about creating. The important thing is to pick your flavour and just do it.
The creative process is the fastest way to tune into the you that’s always been there, the one who exists beneath the facade. It’s a gift to spend a few hours a week mining that gold. You never know what will come of it, and herein lies the beauty. Much as we like to think we know ourselves, this is where the forgotten bits have a chance to bubble to the surface. What emerges can be mind-blowing: a creation that’s just as stunning, flawed, and unique as the person who conceived it.