Maintain or Create

Today I hit up the East Van Culture Crawl. Each November all throughout Vancouver’s eastside, hundreds of artists and studios open their doors to the public to explore everything from medieval leathercraft to glassblowing to moss art. It is spectacular.

I’m always so inspired by other people’s art and creativity. More so than their art itself, I’m inspired by their pursuit of their art. The dedication it takes to excel at their craft. The bravery to put their art out there, to do art instead of… other things society may deem more “productive.”

The courage to not only do art, but to be an artist.

Artists are inherently mould breakers. Artists don’t just break the mould: they reshape it and remake it in so many unique ways that the idea of one mould, one way of doing things, one way of being, is rendered meaningless. Art begets infinite possibilities.

We need art. Where so much of the world is soul-destroying, art is life giving. Artists create.

Quote in the hallway of Parker St. Studios in East Vancouver

I can’t draw to save my life (unless stick people can save me) but as a writer, a creative, I identify somewhat with artists, just with words as my primary medium of creation.

Whether or not you know what to do with a paintbrush, there is a bit of artist in all of us. Or, as John O’Donohue writes:

“Each one of us is doomed and privileged to be an inner artist who carries and shapes a unique world.”

-John O’Donohue

Art is inherently subjective. Some things are, of course, objectively beautiful: the sunset’s reflective glow on the ocean, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the smile of someone who has been through the darkest darkness and still chooses light, joy, life.

Even with things that are objectively beautiful, each of us experiences those things uniquely. We shape our own worlds. We are involved in the creation of our own lives.

We are all a little bit artists, but sometimes it’s easy to forget, to get caught up in maintaining our lives and forget about creating them.

That’s why I find things like this so inspiring — the chance to see a window into the lives and spaces of those who’ve chosen to be artists, to make their art their “One Thing” brings me back to the artist in myself.

Amid the soul-destroying stress of the world around me, art reorients me towards that which is life-giving.

What does art mean to you? What kind of art do you like to do? Do you find yourself doing more maintaining, or creating?

Even the alley behind the studios is filled with art. I think that strawberry with the spray can might be responsible.
Post #20 of Nano Poblano! Click the pepper to visit my team.

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