Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Time to Act Like an Artist

What does it mean, to act like an artist? I’ll admit I’m not sure there is an exact definition or description because just like all people, artists are individual and unique. But that said, we all know there are many words, labels, and stereotypes out there. 

We all get labeled from birth. You’re a boy. You’re a girl. You’re white or black or yellow or pink or green(ok, maybe not green unless you’re Kermit, the frog). You’re a lady or a gentleman. You’re smart or strong or talented. Later, maybe you’re an athlete, an actor, a writer, scientist, lawyer, banker, singer, musician, teacher, reporter, doctor, legislator, chef or computer coder. And there are so many more I’m sure I’ve missed. 

But what is an artist?

There are as many artist labels as there are artists. You’ve heard or even embraced them. Painter. Sculptor. Writer. Potter. Jeweler. Quilter. Designer. Again, these are just a few of the labels we might all know. And that’s the point, no label can really define me or you. 

Because it’s the essence of who, why, what and how we live, do, and be that is truly our art. We are all the artists of our own lives. We all create everyday in what we choose to do, say, make, dress, read, think and love. 

Acting like an artist can mean many things to many artists. 

To act like an artist, I need to make something. 

A day in the life of this artist is sitting down at the wheel in front of a fresh ball of soft clay. Or cutting a chunk of clay off a block and slamming it down on a canvas covered table until it’s flat enough to roll out. Or pulling handles. Or shaping beaks. Or rolling clay into jars. Or stamping, drawing, imprinting letters, laces, hardware or charms into clay. Or painting colored underglazes. Loading or unloading the kiln. 

After the holiday joys and rush, I was tired and cranky. I felt a little lost. Then, I remembered my word of the year: act. And I knew how to solve my malaise. 

Act like an artist. 

Get out my clay and get into my studio. I threw a few bowls. Rolled a few jars. Experimented with new bird sculptures. And filled my kiln firing the first bisque on new pieces. As I sit here by the window waiting to turn the kiln up to the next level, I realize that of all the labels I’ve had in my life, this is the one that truly fits. 

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