I just finished watching the first lady, Michelle Obama and Oprah's interview tonight at the United States of Women Summit.
Michelle Obama said when asked about expectations on being the first lady told the audience that she never read about how to be the best first lady; she wanted to get there first; to see how it is and to make sure that she could be the best first lady in the way that she knew how.
It got me thinking about the different things I tried on being an artist from doing the opposite; from reading biographies, watching documentaries and interviewing artists. Tonight, I'm going over them in to see how they made me feel.
Make art - making art makes me feel centered and surprised at the human spirit. Though, sometimes I am working through my most challenging aspect of being an artist and that is the solidarity of it. Being alone for a prolonged (more than 3 days) makes me feel sad, but I do get a lot of artwork done. I'm gently working through it to find a balance. I now know that I cannot exist without others; that being an artist is not in isolation, so I have a few events during the week when I connect with like-minded people to laugh, play and connect.
Teach art - the part I love most about teaching is being and helping others. I love helping others and being of service, but teaching is a skill and requires patience. Both of those I am working on but still need more training on it, perhaps that will come at a later chapter, who knows. I've noticed that teaching takes a lot of mental energy; usually after teaching I feel fulfilled but also understand that it's creative energy that is placed there too; so I have to just learn to spend my energy.
Be political! - I shared eight months at EAP got to really be involved in the political aspects of art making and talk to the artists. I'm excited to make art for this purpose however feel like I'm not at the level to make political art as my artist is still very young and still maturing. In due time!
Sell art (online and in-person at craft fairs) - Selling art to me is a way to share work with others. I thought that being a designer I grew a pretty thick backbone; but being an artist I had to just throw the backbone away (goodbye!). I learned that being such a sensitive artist... The only way to protect and liberate myself is to ignore the ego. I had to re-program myself to think that I make art because I do. Just like having pj sandwiches. Just like going for jogs. Just like yoga. Just like saying "cat". It's working so far, goodbye ego! Thanks for coming out.
Go to art residencies - I went to an experimental art residency this year in Iceland - I know, it was really great. No ego there - just telling the truth. Anyone can apply (yes, you can!). The residency experience made me feel: connected to myself through knowing that there are other artists out there like me. It made me feel whole, hopeful, happy, curious, nurtured, nourished, vulnerable and courageous. I will apply to more art residencies! Wooooo! I applied to one in Finland this year, but didn't get in (few of us who went to Saga tried to get in and applied lol - and we didn't in...) - but we're still awesome, you know why? Because WE all applied together; and we are still connected after the first residency. And that to me is so precious.
Public speaking - I spoke a few times and... it left me feeling empty. I thought it would make me feel great, but it didn't. I felt like everyone, including myself could have spent that time making together instead of talking about making.
Hosting art events - I loved hosting art events. It made me feel appreciated, fulfilled and moved. I felt joyful watching people smile as they made art. I hope to host more art events in the future, maybe even a retreat! The challenge was getting people to come, so I'll need to work on the curriculum a little bit more to nail that down.
Attending art classes - Going to art classes made me feel: encouraged, inspired, grateful, hopeful and glad. It allowed me to connect with the community and gave me space to grow as an artist. Definitely want to do more of that in 2017!
Volunteering at CE - Volunteering is just, everything. Makes me feel happy and connected to people I care about.
I spent a lot of this year on art making and I honestly, even though on some days it was super alone have no regrets. It made me aware of my time, where it was going and how it was spent. I felt so alone at some points, and then I held that spot for a while because I knew that I needed to learn how to be with me.
Still trying to figure things out; but this is the fun part of the journey isn't it ;) But I'm happy to hear that I can define what being an artist is to me. And for now... I still don't have the full picture yet but there are some seeds in the attempts above and I'm sure that life will reveal more next year.