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.
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.
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.
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.
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