“Your art is not about how many people like your work. Your art is about if your heart likes your work, if your soul likes your work. It’s about how honest you are with yourself and you must never trade honesty for relatability.” [Rupi Kaur]
If you grew up like I did, you made a mess with finger paint and scribbled with crayons long before shakily writing out your own name for the first time. As the years went on we were told to “color in the lines” and “that’s not what it should look like”. Tell a young child this and before long creativity becomes conformity and art exists only in museums. As children become teenagers and teenagers become adults, individuality and creativity are left on the playground. We show up to school to get an education which will hopefully lead to a job and enable us to support a family. As children we were told to always tell the truth, but were shown to never be honest about the depths of our heart. You and I were created to tell the truth in any and every way possible. As teenagers many rebel against our parents and as adults many turn to alcohol and affairs. Heart check: there are much healthier ways.
After years of therapy and a few too many bad attempts at telling the truth, I have found my soul in art. Art lets me not only be honest with myself, but it allows me to share my pain and joy with the world. As a senior in college who works part time and volunteers, I found finding time for art hard to justify at first. Even as a multimedia student, I found activities like coloring and painting to be unproductive and childish. One evening I found myself roaming the book isles of Target [because who doesn’t love Target] and stumbled upon a section of adult coloring books. To me these seemed like a creative challenge that I was willing to take. As infuriating as coloring within the lines was, I gained a newfound appreciation for others creativity. This appreciation turned into inspiration and I picked up a set of watercolor paints from the kids section of JoAnn’s. My first pieces were messy without any direction but seemed to be extremely telling of my heart’s condition. Eventually I began hand lettering quotes within these paintings. They ranged from sunshine and roses to the hard shit that society says we aren’t allowed to talk about. Not long ago I painted my very first stroke of acrylic paint on canvas. I was in love. A blank canvas treated me as a new friend, it had no expectations of me.
I will admit, some of my work is much more aesthetically pleasing, much more acceptable to present to the world. My mind likes to tell me this is the work the world wants, art that will be admired for a short time and then left behind. My heart tells me that I was created to tell the truth through my art. As long as my heart and soul are satisfied with a creation, my job is done. As soon as I begin striving for conformity and acceptance, I have failed. Sunsets tend to be my go-to when I seeking creative approval. If I say screw it and allow my heart to mingle with a paintbrush my favorite humans tend to get concerned. My art doesn’t conform to what is beautiful or even what is acceptable, but my soul is pleased. Friends, there is so much beauty in this messy world and as beauty intertwines with bravery you and I have the opportunity to be honest with ourselves.
If you’ll let me, I would like to challenge you to something. Pick up a marker, a crayon, a paintbrush, or even just a pencil and create. Create with reckless abandon. Screw what society tell us is acceptable and satisfy your soul by creating from your heart.
Thanks for joining me on this journey, I hope you find what you’re looking for.