I am on the island of Moloka’i with 13 artists teaching an ArtLife Workshop. I am constantly amazed at how artists, when they are in dialogue with one another, when they have the opportunity to see one another’s work, their own Art dramatically improves. It is really why workshops are so effective.
I used to wonder why this always happens. But now, during this week, I see it so clearly. It really is quite simple. It’s community.
When we engage with a community of like-minded artists, our own Art is strengthened.
I believe there are 3 primary reasons why.
#1 You are not the only one who feels this way.
Sometimes I find it pretty challenging to be pursuing something so fervently on nothing more than a hunch. The future is never clear. Making Art can lead to questions and emotions that can feel overwhelming. Talking to other artists doesn’t necessarily take those feelings or thoughts away but they do validate them. Knowing others sometimes feel as you do is truly comforting. You just are reminded that this is entirely normal.
#2 Seeing what others make is inspiring.
The more I refine and develop my own work the more I appreciate the work of others. Getting a break from constantly staring at your own work, by looking at what others are making, can be extremely helpful. Seeing Art that is new and different – (without having to do any of the work) is refreshing. Dropping into someone else’s work, even briefly, allows you a new perspective, a new point of reference to gaze back at your own and possibly see it in a new way. Your inspiration can be reignited by someone else’s. Thankfully, inspiration is contagious.
#3 Saying it sometimes makes it so.
This is one of the most interesting, compelling reasons to spend time in dialogue with other artists. Most of the time our ideas and thoughts about our work stay quietly within us. Once we verbalize, actually say it out loud in conversation, it releases it somewhat beyond ourselves. From what I have seen, this simple act then allows your ideas or thoughts about what you are trying to do within your art to occur.
It sounds a little far fetched but when we share, when we say out loud what we want, what we are aiming for, to others, it is almost like we have bolstered, renewed our intentions.
The tide of the universe only seems to shift in our direction when this occurs. It must first clearly hear from you. Even if you are just talking to one person, the universe seems to overhear.
It sometimes is daunting to think of yourself always pushing your work forward alone. I prefer to think of myself as part of a larger, growing community, an immense upward spiral that is carrying everyone towards their own unique creative expression. There are just way too many of us, way too much forward momentum for this not to occur.
What do each of you think about this? What communities are you part of? I would be greatly appreciative to read your responses below.
In gratitude, Nicholas