Back in June I watched the coolest YouTube video entitled "Art as Therapy"
by the philosopher and author Alain de Botton and was utterly fascinated by what an incredible role art can play in our both our day to day well-being as well as our ability to "bounce back" and heal from life's struggles.
Around the same time, I became friends with an artist and in the past few months, I have added to the knowledge that video first opened the door to.
Let me share that I grew up with two artists as parents. My father a master modeler, a sculptor (we had the BEST snow animals growing up!) and someone who could draw and fabricate like nobody's business! I also had a mother with a very "good eye", crafty (from decoupage ornaments in the 70's to canning homemade dill pickles) and creative, especially when it came and comes to interior design. Hence the fact that every one of my friends always fawned over the home I grew up in and still fawn when they see where my folks live now.
I have never been "hands on" artsy. Let's just say my drawings never bowled anyone over nor did my attempts at painting, crafting, or anything else. I think like a lot of people since I never got great feedback around my art when I was in Jr. High or High School and old enough to know it, (remember when we would be blown away by a peers talent and tell them so? I was one of those "showering the praise" not being washed by it) I just came to believe I stunk at art. Add in seeing great art made time and time again by my folks and my idea of "stinking" easily came to be a "thing."
Fast-forward to this weekend. My friend, the artist, is writing a thesis on art and mental health, I'm fascinated by the subject matter so I asked if at some point I could read her thesis and a conversation ensued. One that redefined my definition of art. One that made me see that my definition was not only narrow but quite limiting.
My narrow definition of being an artist was that I had to be good enough to elicit the approval of others. Man, was I wrong and my friend set me straight. She said that art was like working out, that "just doing it" was good for you, whatever level you were at and it hit me. For instance, I really had fun painting little rocks with her last month and I have stood in front of pieces art for more than an hour in awe of their composition and symbolism, the feelings, incredible.
In other words, I figured it out, art is about feeling. How you feel when you're doing it or looking at it. Good art is anything that makes you feel and maybe even think a bit. Good art has nothing to do with what others think, only what you feel. What a liberating proposition that is and how wide and ripe with possibility my new definition of art has become. Nothing like turning 40 years of belief "on its head" in a matter of moments!
So my friends, just call me "Mickey" 'cuz when it comes to art and my new relationship with it, I AM so fine...and so are you!
Where's my brush... ;)