The Huddle #50: Les Artistes
They said this is a great time for art projects, and they weren’t wrong. Just look at these people who are recreating masterpieces in their living rooms, or fellow huddler Blake, who completed an Oscar-worthy interpretation of Beauty School Drop Out. I have to be honest - when we first began shelter-in-place I was far from convinced that I’d come out the other side of this with some newfound talent or discovery. It didn’t help that people were posting all this nonsense about how Isaac Newton went into quarantine during the Bubonic Plague and came out having literally realized gravity is a thing. Talk about pressure. Plus, I’m guessing Newton didn’t have Zoom dates or Tiger King to distract him.
Today, something shifted. I began working with a choreographer friend, Liv, who shared this quote from the book Art and Fear: “Simply put, making art is chancy - it doesn’t mix well with predictability. Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable, and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding.”
With all the uncertainty in the world right now, art - intentional, creative choice - is a great tool for allowing the “unknowns” to move through us. Instead of letting uncertainty sit heavy on our hearts until it becomes an aching impatience, we can work with it- mold it, make a mess out of it, and maybe even make it into something cool.
I’m not just talking to you people who are taking RuPaul’s Masterclass or picking up a guitar for the first time. I’m talking about the masterpiece that is your life at this exact moment. We’re all creating new things right now- no matter how abstract or concrete. And underneath all of that, lies an opportunity to be more artful in how we choose to put the pieces of our lives together. A little kindness here, a dash of discipline there, lots of humor to make everything stick… ah, that’s it! We’re doing it!
Here’s the invitation- can you shine some light on the art you’re creating in your life right now? Where are you allowing yourself to be expressive, creative, playful, dare I say… fun? Are you trying new recipes without the recipe? Are you turning left, instead of right, on your morning walk? Are you free-writing? Singing in the shower? Creating a detailed map of human fecal matter in the city of San Francisco? Oh, wait. Someone already did that.
And finally, beyond all of that, can you look at how you’re crafting your relationships, and can you come at that from an artist’s curiosity, rather than self-judgment? You could notice the colors, textures, and brushstrokes your eyes are drawn to. You could ask, as Michealangelo did while he chiseled away, what themes, images or ideas are revealing themselves to me through this work?
You don’t have to be a world-class painter or the CEO of a startup to learn this truth- YOU are a creative, unique, unrepeatable, totally badass artist in residence. Keep creating, keep molding, keep chiseling away. This is not the time for coloring inside the lines.