Thanks to the internet, I came to know that April 15 is World Art Day. We have a saying at our house – every day is some day, referring to the many celebratory or awareness days each date carries. Some days just pass by, without knowing if something was attributed for that date. Some days become extra special, like today when I came to know that it’s World Art Day. It perhaps has to do with the fact that I love making art. And different days would resonate to each of us differently.
A common day kind of brings us all together under the same skies, binding us together with some unspeakable magic. Maybe it’s reason enough to write a blog post. I’m sharing some quotes that serve as good reminder for the artist in me. Some of these quotes I’ve come across in books I read, some through the internet, some I’ve carried for years, some I’ve known for just a few hours.
The changing wisdom of successive generations discards ideas, questions facts, demolishes theories. But the artist appeals to that part of our being which is not dependent on wisdom; to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition-and, therefore, more permanently enduring. ~ Joseph Conrad
This is one of the new ones that I came across. I was reading Heart of Darkness as a course requirement and as part of the literary analysis I was introduced to Conrad’s art philosophy. What particularly struck me was this phrase – to that in us which is a gift and not an acquisition, especially the word acquisition. Sometimes the pressure of creating art becomes like an acquisition, something I’m stuffing myself with, but like Conrad says, art isn’t just acquisition.
I also promised that I would never ask writing to take care of me financially, but that I would always take care of it-meaning that I would always support us both, by any means necessary. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic helped me see art in a different light – like a profession where the person keeps showing up. Some do extremely well, most get along. At times I expect so much from my art and it leaves me feeling disappointed when the world does not respond to my works. Quotes from Big Magic remind me that art is work, just like any work. I show up and make art.
We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. ~ Ernest Hemingway
This one gets a little tricky at times. Sometimes it makes me lazy, no one becomes a master after all! Humor aside what this quote does is makes me humble, and reminds me that in the world of art, no one can really tell what is going to happen to your work. People didn’t like ee cummings’ work at first, not to forget JK Rowling got rejected several times. Perhaps there is no real judge of art.
By choosing to act, by writing on that page, we are creating another version of time; we are playing out a new version of existence, of life even. We are creating an entirely fresh piece of space-time, and another version of your self. ~ David Morley, The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing
A brief introduction on the craft of creating writing, this book also has some cool ideas to try to shake the writer inside. What I like about this quote is perhaps the reasoning that says by writing we can find a different version of ourselves. Maybe we are searching for different pieces of us scattered in different dimensions, and art might be one of them.
We do not write to express ourselves, we write to discover ourselves. ~ Unknown
I do not know who said this. I can’t quite remember. I do have a faint memory of reading a book where I came across this thought (it must have been a borrowed book or else I would have underlined the exact lines and dogeared the page!). While I cannot recall which book or which author, I remember the feeling of the moment, as though a part of my heart flung open with the realization that I do not need to write to express but I need to write to discover myself. I think it also helped some of my friends who wanted to develop a writing habit but held themselves back because they thought they weren’t expressive enough.
These quotes aren’t magic. They do not sit down on the desk and write for me or create art, but what they do is remind me that in a vast ocean of artists spanning across time, anyone who makes art is an artist, I am one too. Billy Collins, in his Masterclass on poetry says that a poet who is trying to write a poem is never alone, there are poets, all the poets from the past and their knowledge along with her.
This World Art Day I pray for the courage to keep making things, to keep making art.