Now available at my shop are some print-sized versions of what were originally greeting cards. I've had some requests at recent shows to make them bigger, so here we go! You can save on sets or buy individually.
As I picked them and several other orders up from my printer yesterday, I looked (as I often do with artwork) at the messages contained within them, at what they say and what they mean to me. And I realized -forgive my bluntness- that creativity is kind of a bitch of a thing to want to pursue in your life.
It complicates things. You start to do something rare and counter-cultural: you're not thinking only about yourself anymore. You're making often uncomfortable space for more in your life that isn't always self-advancing the way the world around you describes it. It can be terrifying. It requires all sorts of navigation of the unknown, the uncertain, the 'I don't know what's ahead but I guess I have to go anyway' moments that life is full of- but constantly.
And perhaps its most repulsive quality by the standards of our very human, security-seeking hearts is that creativity holds you accountable: creation comes from convictions of feeling deep inner truth and not ignoring it, from knowing an almost supernatural pull to express and allow vulnerability and openness versus to do what the world often tells us do to- withhold, close down, or give up and go for easy, for comfortable; not necessarily for pure and true.
To search out your truest self and pursue that- not just in art but in life- is a monumental, hard, ridiculous task. It would induce less self-consciousness to walk around naked. It's a scary thing to let people see some of you, no less all of you- but of course, in the long run, the alternative is much worse: that you live and die in this world with no one, not even yourself, realizing who you really are.
Making something ensures that you have put up a fight, however you've been called to, to leave a mark in this world that exclaims, 'I was here. I lived. I did more than just exist.'
This is how art is really just a metaphor for life. Putting things that truly come from the heart out there for people to see- not just art, but feelings, or confessions, or emotions, or thoughts, or personalities, or who we really are versus just the roles we play- invites a large number of possible options in terms of responses. And we care an illogically great deal, don't we, about what they are.
We have a strange, rebellious, and self-defeating quality as human beings: we want to be seen only to the extent that we can remain comfortable, to want to be known only to the degree that we can still be safe. It's comfortable, but it's not fully truthful.
We box our knowledge into our ability for self-explanation and our idea of wisdom into what brings us the most comfortable, safe, 'successful' life. We forget what's inside, because we're pulled around by influences from the outside. Creativity is a matter of soul, a matter of the inside.
We start being creative when we acknowledge that life is about more than our security and well-being- it's the awareness of this that then leads genuine creativity to show up in our lives. And, if we fight the good fight long enough, the security and well-being we thought we were abandoning in the beginning of the journey actually returns to us.