Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Art is work. It’s good work and fun work but work nonetheless. You can’t just expect it to burst on you from out of nowhere, as if creativity were something that happens to you. Put yourself in the right frame of mind, a little emotional, maybe a little drunk, and art is supposed to magically explode within you… or that’s how the story goes. You know what, I’ve been waiting a long time for that to happen to me, and so far nada.

Exercise #1 in debunking that myth:
A Master Class in Pre-Renaissance Sacred Art.
This was my “fun” class for winter term. We broke marble (the stone, not the little round toys) into pieces and made mosaics. I started with grand ambitions along the line of my friend Charles’ great work, thinking I’d do some kind of Biblical scene. I learned how to cut marble, and immediately realized I’d have to scale back by about 97%. I made three circles and it almost killed me. Hello, discipline.

Exercise #2. The Vagina Monologues.
I am in charge of stage, costumes, props, and music. The simple idea “we should process in carrying candles” turned into a huge shebang with 15 glass jars and melting a lot of wax and carefully cooling it at just the right pace. And I’ll have to re-melt and replace them all with a new set of candles before the performance. I’d rather just trust they will, but apparently other people want to be sure. Okay. Accountability.

Also, my monologue didn’t come to me in a flash of brilliance. I tried voices and attitudes that didn’t fit at all, and my friends told me “try again.” and again.

Exercise #3. The Artist’s Way (ongoing).
This is a book given to me by my boyfriend for Christmas, but it’s more than a book, it’s a course and a challenge. Julia Cameron asks you to do affirmations on themes such as “there is a divine plan of goodness for my work" and to express yourself regularly and mandatorily – regardless of whether or not your internal censor tells you “it’s crap, throw it out.” Just write. Keep writing. You don’t need to show it to anyone, but you DO need to practice, and you DO need to express instead of squelching the stuff you’re “not supposed to say.”

Exercise #4
Work can be art?
Telling stories to children, designing curriculum for youth group.
If that isn’t art I don’t know what is.
How about treating it as such?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, just stopping by. I have to agree that "Art is work." Creativity is not a faucet that you can turn on anytime. Sometimes, it comes when you least expected it -- when you're happy, depressed, or even in the middle of the night. Thanks for sharing your musings.