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"what Inspires Me to Make Art"

By , Monsey, NY
My friend and I sat on her floor one day and pondered our life’s worst possible scenarios. We began with the best and slowly eliminated key factors: dream job, beautiful husband, tropical location, happy smiley children, millions of dollars coming down from the sky with no particular explanation, happiness. As we neared the worst case we arrived at: lonely, ugly, and dirty lives.
My worst-case scenario was to live in a tiny apartment not in a city. There would be one window looking out over someone else’s small patch of dying grass. Every wall in the house would be painted the same dull color that could have once been blue or green or white or brown. Now it all just looks like an unhealthy grey.
My friend winced. But I had already resolved this situation. “I'll draw all over the walls and write stories on tiny sheets of paper and roll them up and drop them out the window for someone to find and enjoy,” I said. “I’ll live in a dream world where everything is imagination so nothing can ever go wrong.”
So this was no longer my worst possible situation because no matter how far into any kind of a hellish failure I placed myself, I was left with one thing: My creative mind.
“I’ll be the woman trapped all day in the toll booth whose job is utterly pointless and lonely since EZpass came around,” I decide. “Instead of dwelling on my life’s sad situation, I’ll watch and think about each person who passes by. I’ll write stories inspired by the fleeting glimpses of commuter’s faces on their way to work” and with that small glimmer of creative expression and freedom I have raised myself out of the worst case scenario.
If I see something meaningful and I notice, and ponder and analyze, I become an artist with my mind and those thoughts become art, even if I never tell a soul. If I write about what I have observed I become an artist with words and the words become art. If I see something beautiful and I draw it, I become an artist with my hand, and the beautiful thing becomes art.
To be an artist is to notice the world as it moves around me. I’ve heard it said that artists see the same things that the rest of the world sees, only they see them better. The small mind’s definition of art is a beautiful drawing; the larger picture is that there is art in everything seen with the intention of beauty. And it is possible to find beauty in ugliness, or decay. An artist is someone who can see the artistic potential, the beauty, in anything.
Good lawyers practice the art of law. They play with the way we see what we see in a crime or a disagreement, they’re looking at it differently, perhaps seeing better, than someone who doesnt practice this art. Anything done in a fine careful way can be called an art and anyone who does it can be called an artist.
When I feel pointless I create something- any silly thing. By creating it I can remember that I matter, that without me this little creation could not be.
No matter where or how I end up it will be impossible to reach that worst case scenario that I searched for that day with my friend. Because I am an artist and, though the best case scenario does involve paintings, movies, clay, discussions, pencils and paper, none of those things are necessary to existing in a world where everything I see and do and am is beautiful and meaningful and art.
What inspires me is everything, and everything, when looked at in the context of an answer to a specific question can easily look like one thing; art. Art inspires me to do art. And I don’t mean art as in Renaissance masterpieces but art as in smiles and dirt, light and air, stories and telephone conversations. Not what these things look like when they are photographed, filmed or painted; but what these things look like as they happen, as they exist. I do art because art is how I see the world. I exist inside it and see it everywhere and that is why I have no choice but to capture, describe, record, listen to, appreciate, and be inspired to make it.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Nilanjana said...
Feb. 10, 2014 at 11:21 am
I really like your article.  Your article inspire me about writing. I hope to read more of your article. Thank you for sharing. 
 
Jingmei said...
Feb. 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm
you just made art with words, just like i knew it was going to be.. amazing. It doesn't matter how famous or how wealthy you become.. because i think that your mind and heart for LIFE is so beautiful-- and that's what's going to make you someone of an admirable character. Thank you for sharing this!
 
emmax56 said...
Nov. 29, 2009 at 11:07 pm
I can't believe you only have one comment. This is exactly how I see art and I've never heard it described so beautifully in words. I hope you get this comment. I really liked this essay and I hope you get into your top choice,
 
pigeondove This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm
i like the first line. caught my attention.
 
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