Are you an artist?

What does it mean "to be an artist"?

Opinions diverge.  Joseph Beuys  defended that "Everyone is an artist", and believed it was possible to transform society through the creativity of every individual. John Carey's book "What Good Are the Arts?" also takes the anti elitist approach that art is simply anything that anyone has ever considered art. Do you think your children's drawings are art? Well, then they are. Do you see a well organised shelf as a piece of art? Voilá, art it is.

Other people have a more restrictive view of what art is. Some require it to have an aesthetic value, others say it has to question the status quo. There are also those who defend that art should make the world better - the list goes on. None of the answers to what art is are unanimous. What is aesthetically pleasing? Which questions should art raise? How can art make a better world?

Whatever your view is, the purpose of this blog is to illustrate a journey towards an artistic mind. 

Having an original, creative mind is certainly one of the most undisputed aspects of being an artist. It isn't easy to convince others of an original idea, but sometimes it is even harder to live by our own original ideas. "Life gets in the way" I have thought many times, until it became clear that life is the way.

I strongly believe that all of us can be better and happier by nurturing the artist inside us, and that it is possible to face life in an artistic way, regardless of what your situation is. 

But how do I get my artistic mind?

  1. An artist can have a daily job that requires no creativity - as a matter of fact, your art being separated from your main income source can allow you to be free and true to yourself. See your day job persona as your patron, see your daily life as a source of inspiration.
  2. One thing is the artistic mind, the other is your medium. You can train your mind to be open, creative, playful, but how do you explore and express this? To find an answer, I suggest looking for both activities that give you pleasure today and the ones that gave you pleasure as a child. Think how to turn those into an expression of your creative mind.
  3. Even if you are an experienced artist and found your preferred medium years ago, don't be afraid to experiment. Do you love painting? Try writing instead. Do you play the piano every day? Go out with a sketchbook. You may discover that exploring other mediums will inform and improve your primary art form.

If you are interested in improving your creativity, in this blog I will be sharing experiences, books, exhibitions and general considerations that help me to pursue my own artistic mind. 

As for today, I'll leave you with some "homework" (the fun kind):

Suggested exercise: Try doing something that gave you pleasure as a child - painting, reading, baking, playing an instrument, the list goes on. (Happiness specialist Gretchen Rubin suggests this approach in her quest for happiness.)

Suggested reading: "How to Be an Artist", by Michael Atavar.  This book guides you through the process of developing your creativity. Easy to read, it gives exercises that help you develop your artistic mind and find your inner voice. It is suitable both for beginners and experienced artists.

Please let me know what you think are the attributes of an artistic mind and share your own definition of what art is. I am looking forward to hear what you have to say!