Lifestyle Issues

What Everyone Gets Wrong About Art & Creativity

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This post is a modified version of a video from my series Daily Dose of Creativity on IGTV. Check out Episode 1: What is “art”? for more.

Block lettering spelling out ART?
What is “art”?

Let’s talk about art and creativity:

  • what it means
  • what it doesn’t mean
  • what we don’t think of as creative (and can maybe start)
  • and just try to break through these preconceived notions we have about “what is art?”

Because our culture limits us to believe that only things that are in museums are artistic, and are worthy of being called “Art.” 

And that’s just plain wrong. WRONG.

via GIPHY

Frankly why would you limit the definition of art so narrowly?

Here’s the top entry in the Oxford dictionary definition:

art /ärt/

noun
the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
“the art of the Renaissance”

Definition provided to Google by Oxford Languages

“Typically in a visual form” doesn’t mean ALWAYS or ONLY. Nope. Because, for example, music isn’t experienced with the eyes. Yet singers, dancers, and musicians are all easily artists, too.

See what I’m saying?

So now that we’ve busted that myth about art, I’ll let you in on another thing. Every single person has a creative muscle in their body, at least one. Some people have more. But we all have at least one.

For example, I sew. That’s an art (and a science, but more on that another time). I made this shirt for Minerva’s site:

Paulette sitting on the yellow couch wearing a ringer tee sewn up in a light blue fabric with a pirate motif
Pirate on one boob, a whale on the other

Look, there’s a pirate on my boob and a whale on the other! Haha!

I actually meant to check that placement. But I forgot. Oh well. See, art doesn’t care about mistakes. Like Bob Ross says: they’re just happy little accidents. So now I get to go around telling everyone: hey look I’ve got a pirate on my boob. 

And that’s funny! Plus, being able to laugh at yourself is a critically underrated skill.

That’s creativity for you! Sometimes it’s messy. And sometimes it doesn’t come out the way you think it should. But it comes out the way it was meant to…get what I’m saying?

Sometimes art and creativity just can’t be controlled and the effect or result is fabulous nonetheless! 

Honey, You’re a Maker/Creative/Artist Even If You Just Can’t See It

I asked a question of my followers recently: what does the word maker mean to you? And do you consider yourself one? I’m followed by a lot of people who own their own businesses, or have a specific type of hobby (we all sew).

Those are all makers!

A pile of cloth with buttons and thread spools scattered about

Imagine my surprise by how few people considered themselves “makers” or had a problem with that word in particular. 

According to the same Oxford dictionary:

mak·er /ˈmākər/

noun

a person or thing that makes or produces something.
“film-makers”

Definition provided to Google by Oxford Languages

So I tried to delve deeper into the “why” behind that sentiment. Because if you make clothes, I want you to understand: you are a creative individual! Whatever it is you make, it doesn’t have to be something tangible like clothing. It could be any number of things. 

My friend Annie from Your Fairy Blogmother was online when I gave this speech, and she joined in. Her comment was “I make online content!”

Yeah, she makes kick ass online content! Do you want to become a blogger? Because she will teach you the entire technical side of doing that. Also, if you’re into true crime, she’s got a blog about that. It’s fantastic.  

But it’s not tangible. 

It’s not a shirt, like I made. It’s not bread, like a baker would make. It’s not art that hangs on the wall. It exists purely in digital form. But that’s still making something. 

Like this blog: digital, online content.

So back to my followers: Apparently, the word “maker” also has some negative connotations to it that I was unaware of, so I was really glad that people brought this to my attention. 

I’ll save that for a future post, but my point is that I want us all to suspend our beliefs about that specific word—maker—or about what makes one creative. If you want to switch out the word maker with creative, that’s fine, too. 

Funny enough, I connote that word “creative” with the Hollywood industry, because of where I grew up. Creative types went to work in those fields. 

See, words mean different things to all of us. We all see the world differently.

For some people, it’s what they see on the show Making It with Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler.

The show is entertaining: they get people from all different genres of “making.” So you’ve got woodworkers or construction workers, or paper flower makers or balloon bouquet makers—anything goes!

Flat lay of various maker tools: a camera, iPad, coffee mug, colored pencils, etc.

And they just kind of go head-to-head but in a friendly competition. There’s no losers here. Everybody displays their own unique type of artwork, and it’s so fun. It’s also kind of cheesy, in a lot of ways. But it’s not your typical deathmatch kind of show.

There’s something to that. Americans especially tend to overuse superlatives. We all want to be the “best in X” or first place is always awarded a trophy. And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that serious. 

Annie also shared that most people in Arkansas would think a maker was a clothing maker or crafter. There’s another word you can use: crafting. But what if what you craft, again, is online content or memes or something that isn’t tangible?

So I would challenge you to rethink your preconceived notions around what a maker, a creative, or crafter really is. And try to think of other things that those individuals or that you as an individual can do that fall into that category. 

Whether or not the end result is any good or is even tangible: it doesn’t have to be something you can hold in your hands or hang on the wall.

Tell me down in the comments how you feel about the word maker, about the word crafter, or about the word creative and which one, if any, you identify as. 

Want to get in touch with your own inherent creativity? Get my FREE 5-step guide unlocking your inner maker:

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arv
Apr 23, 2021 5:18 am

art encompasses so many things, so well said, why should creativity be limited by words