What is your creative practice?

What is your creative practice? 

estesRecently (yesterday) we had a family crash at the house the spurned a few good questions about life, and sanity, and artistic practice. Both are artists of various types and fashions. One is a struggling potter trying to her name out there. The other is a traditional painter and electronic artist that has recently left his job in higher ed. They’ve both recently left established home and jobs for new lives up in the mountains of Estes Park.

And in the conversation about art and commercial success, about doing what you feel called to do, and yet still finding a way to also feed your family, and survive… they kept bringing back this idea to me that sort of made me pause. The conversation was about this blog, about some of my “art”, designs, the books I’ve written, and other things and they both made a comment that I am an “artist”. At which I balked. No. I am not an artist. You two are artists. I definitely am not an artist. I enjoy writing. Pontificating. Turning ideas inside out in my head, and seeing how they come together in various artistic expressions occasionally. But I’m not an artist. And the Pierre said (sup Pierre) something to the effect of – “Ok, maybe you aren’t an artist, but you have an artistic exercise.”

And I really like that particular turn of phrase. An artistic exercise. And so I figured I would pose that question to you… what is your artistic exercise?

By that I don’t mean, when was the last time you painted? Or sketched something. I think it means something more to the point of, where are you getting some sort of a release that is creative. Maybe video editing your family’s trip to Disney World? Or what about building shelves in the garage? Or redecorating your bedroom? Or solving problems at work in a new and innovative way?

I recently started two new websites that I will eventually tell you all about. They are marketing and also design outlets for me. But when Pierre and Karen asked about where my greatest artistic outlets were I immediately thought about designing solution to business problems via iPhone and iPad applications. Seeing an issue, and then connecting multiple dots that are tied together in a single application for KPI and ROI implications for the business really is an artistic outlet. I’ve also started placing more emphasis on my Society6 designs, which has become quite an interesting outlet as well. My artistic exercise might occasionally be similar to artistry sometimes, it just doesn’t have to be. Consider¬†web design, developing VB solutions, HTML, and Android or iPhone app development – they really are forms of artistic expression. I’ve you’ve never developed anything before, I could understand why that would be tricky to understand. But it really is. Solving problems. Cleverly finding data and disparate items and congregating them in a single solution is a high art. Especially developing them in ways that are easily usable and reusable.

Maybe that is why I am so interested in talking with artists. I learn so much from how they work and the outlets they have that are helping to keep them sane, or to grapple with the larger issues in the world. I can remember chatting with one artist in particular and we found ourselves talking about life after death, the meaning of life, and the general importance of art in every day life. Another time while chatting with another renowned artist that I didn’t think would give me the time of day, I started the conversation by asking him straight out what the purpose of art was and generally what the meaning of life was for him. Art for me, is a language and a conversational dialogue for the deeper and more important things happening in our lives every day. And so for you, by answering what your artist exercise is, you are defining for yourself where you find the deeper moments of your life and you grapple with the really important incongruities from our day to day living.

So what say you? What is your regular artistic exercise? Are you writing poetry about your day? Or maybe you are solving impossible problems at work? (Not everyone is hopelessly unfulfilled in their day jobs.) Possibly you architect sheds and rabbit hutches for your kids? Or maybe you engage in your local or national politics? Or maybe you try something you’ve never tried before just to say you’ve done it. Success isn’t a criteria for an artistic practice. Just doing is the key. So maybe you should find your thing? Or maybe you’ve already found it, but you need to foster it? I don’t know… maybe I am just encouraging you to dig deep into this life. Do something unsafe. Something vulnerable. Something you wouldn’t normally do. But grapple with life. Carpe diem the heck out of this thing…