I was working on a vision board the other day with my friend Diana Arsenian. She is a graphic facilitator. I didn’t really understand what a graphic facilitator does till yesterday. Her expertise resides in taking verbal communication and translating it into pictographs on a wall size piece of paper. She basically takes unseen words and ideas and makes them visible. It is an amazing talent.
We were penciling out all kinds of ideas, visions for the future. She drew images as I spoke. Most of my ideas were connected with lines to a simple drawing of me in the center. All these lines extending outward led to ideas I might possibly try to create in the future. After a few minutes she pointed to the figure of me and asked, “So what fills you? What is coming into you to inspire all these things that are going out?”
That was an easy answer. I just said my Art. She smiled and nodded as she drew an image of a big sun above the figure of me.
“This,” she said, pointing to the sun, “is most critical. It is essential to all you do.” I had never really pictured it this way. I have always thought of my Art as something that just came out of me, not as something separate that has a vitality of it’s own.
But it is true. Art is like a sun overhead. The longer I make Art the more I see the importance of keeping it carefully to one side of all manner of personal noise. If your Art is separate and carefully preserved, then it can always be used to balance whatever is going on in your life. If things are hectic it can be a place where solitude can be found. If life becomes dull, then your Art can be the doorway back to inspiration and passion.
I like to describe my Art making as a practice. Not a noun but more of a verb. It is the practice of repeatedly gazing upwards. Art has a way of realigning you. It bolsters the feeling of who you are or – even better – who you are possibly becoming. I think the image of the sun is perfect. No matter where you are or what you are doing the sun, our Art, is always just overhead, always available to us.
The only requirement, it seems to me, is to consistently nurture this heavenly body that follows us from above. We must keep it just high enough in the sky that the daily earthly distractions and commotion of everyday life won’t degrade its pristine condition. Then it will remain as a vital tool, a conduit for becoming more and more our selves.
How would you describe your relationship with your art? Does it bring you closer to yourself? If you would like to share, please do so in the comments section below.
In gratitude, Nicholas