Eating a Whole Pie: Independence Day for Artists

A guest post about creativity by Melanie Rothschild.

I once met a guy who told me that the very first Friday night he lived in his own apartment after moving out of his parents’ house, he went to the store, bought a pie and ate it for dinner. Why? Because he could.

independence day

That story has always stuck with me . . . it’s a very short story but it says a lot.

Living on his own for the first time, he claimed his territory. He announced to himself that there was a new sheriff in town – him.

I see this as a huge lesson for artists.

Creatively, what things would we do differently if we freed ourselves from the rules which bind us?

Step one is probably figuring out just what rules are in fact binding us or in some way holding us back from roaming into “forbidden territory.” This is a formidable task, maybe even the belly of the beast. But spending time considering what work you do to please other people and then considering what work you do to please yourself is most likely a worthwhile exercise.

independence day

The joy of being an artist is that the artistic equivalent of eating a whole pie for dinner is not just “ok” to be doing, but actually, it’s just absolutely exactly what artists should be doing …… all the time. It’s the artist’s job to step out, explore and bring back the spoils from that excursion. For me, that’s what makes art exciting (or why sometimes art may not feel so exciting). Certainly I don’t always like everything I see or I do myself, but there’s something exhilarating about work which in some way says to the viewer, “I just ate an entire banana cream pie for dinner and I just might do it again tomorrow.”

What a joyful position to be in. Artists get to have fun and “indulge” in ways others only dream about … but … with no horrendous downside. Using the “wrong” color, shape or texture isn’t going to land you behind bars or in the emergency room. Even if you think you’re “wasting” materials, if you test something out which you decide really isn’t what you want, those materials aren’t wasted, they were instruments used in a lesson to teach you something about refining your creative sensibilities.

independence day

The major obstacle in eating a whole pie everyday with your art might be concern about the judgments of others. “What are people going to think about this?” That’s something which can be tough to overcome but very possibly worth the effort.

Ultimately, the decision to eat that whole pie or not is up to you . . . whenever you decide who the sheriff in your town is.

Melanie Rothschild is a self-taught artist whose elaborate interior accessories have been sold in stores throughout the United States including Neiman-Marcus, the shops at the Smithsonian Institution, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and hundreds of others for almost two decades. Her work is shown in fine art galleries and has been licensed to Target. She considers moxie, an irreverent nature, and a respect for mistake-making to be the tools of her trade. Melanie has a master’s degree in the Study of Creativity and an undergrad degree in Anthropology. She is from and lives in Los Angeles. Melanie is currently working on her first book for North Light Books due out in the fall of 2014. “Like” Melanie on Facebook today!
Click here to see more of Melanie’s artwork and a short preview of her documentary, MISTAKE.

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