Friday, February 29, 2008

Authenticate This!

I keep running across this concept of authenticity this week... and sadly it seems to show up in the idea that creativity is only something that can be pursued "seriously" by professional artists and seriously, I've come across two books and a few websites -this week alone- that seem to promote this idea. It's usually cloaked in the idea that you need to devote yourself fully to an artistic endeaver in order to be successful at it. Now, perhaps that is the case if you plan on becoming the next Picasso, but what about if you simply want to create YOUR best work? What if you have a busy life full of many interests and simply want to make painting a part of those interests? This elitist attitude makes me incredibly angry for so many reasons, not the least of which is the limiting perspective it takes on everyday living. I truly, deeply believe that it is possible to approach every part of your life creatively, whether that means being intensely aware of your surroundings and living "mindfully", or approaching a traditional art, such as painting, and making the practice of that art a part of your everyday life. Now, the small-minded individual might say something like "how do you take out the garbage creatively? By walking on your hands?" No, you take out the garbage like everyone else. BUT, while you take that garbage out you notice the smells of the morning, the textures of the street and listen to birdsongs in the trees, maybe think about the way all these things combine to make a morning, THEN you are taking out the garbage in a way that transcends the ordinary.

What can be more authentic than that?

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