Lately, I have been listening to deep-dive interviews with people involved in the arts, performing, graphic, etc., about their crafts. All art is most simply put, a form of storytelling, whether through painting on canvas, sculpting clay, writing a novel, recording a song or filming a movie. Some art requires the expression of a story told by a single person. Others are massive undertakings, requiring years and hundreds of people to complete, each one contributing their piece of talent to the final product.
Anything you create can be considered art, if you are using your intention to tell a story with your work. It is not uncommon for engineered buildings and bridges described as works of art, but not all are. What is the difference? I say the intention imbued in each project is what may define it as art upon its completion. I can also imagine software engineers being complimented for a certain pristine bit of code, having it described as a work of art as well. You must put yourself out there to create art in your work life, whatever your career.
I never thought I was artistic as a child. The only thing I could ever draw were stick figures and rainbows (I was partial to the latter) and a judge at one of my jazz band competitions wrote on our feedback sheet that I, as the saxophone soloist, “played the notes on the page very well.” Apparently, they were looking for other notes? Ultimately, I was a mimic; I copied others as a performance. This has literally been the story of my life as an undiagnosed autistic woman. I have been performing my entire life, but there has been no artistry in my performance.
I am just now starting to realize the power of my voice, sharing my story. The value of my writing as art never occurred to me until very recently, after having spent my entire life, over 40 years, just trying to be acceptable to others, being allowed to exist without threat or fear of failure. That has been simultaneously the purpose and the gift of this blog; it has allowed me to write my words, to tell my story, to create art in a space that I did not have to let anyone into if I didn’t want. I wrote for over a year before putting my name to my blog or sharing it with anyone beyond close friends and family.
But now I’m stronger. Bit by bit, I have grown into a better artist. I paint with my words. I give voice to the thoughts in my head that reflect my experience living in this time and place. And I believe my voice to be important and unique, which has not been true for most of my life.
Just don’t ask me to improvise on my saxophone. I am still a mimic in the realm of music. Perhaps in the future… One never need give up on their own potential for growth.