NAV TIP: The "Prep" section of the Evolution Through Vacation e-guide takes you through interesting and insightful questions to identify any "baggage" you may want to explore – or release – on your upcoming vacation. All based on seven Life Areas – Purpose, Spirit, Health, Play, Relationships, Expression, and Stuff – I'll dig into a few of these concepts to give you a glimpse into how it works in the context of my current adventure. All in the hope that it inspires your own! Let's go...
As I continue to explore the Prep section of my e>v Guide, I move on to the next Life Area on the list and dive into thoughts, ideas and – yes, baggage! – around Expression.
Perfect time for a trip to the museum.
Luckily, my & Daniel's adventure took us to Singapore for a weekend and we made our way to the amazing ArtScience Museum for the even-more-amazing exhibit Art From the Streets. This show features "the world’s most iconic street artists" and it was incredible. Especially within the conversation of Expression.
In regard to Expression, the e>v Guide asks questions like: "Where does your creativity shine through? How do you express yourself in the world? What are your stories about what it means to be "creative?"
I've been pondering this of late, exploring my new surroundings with my camera in hand, loading up my Instagram account. Or: when it comes to Expression, I know that taking photographs is a place where I feel as though I'm expressing myself fully. My view on the world, my passion as a curator of everyday experiences and details ... I love to capture and elevate the mundane while also attempting to frame up a new perspective of the sights I'm seeing. I do it instinctively; I don't think about it as work, or how I'll "monetize" it or, even, what others will think or say. (Granted, it is validating to get positive feedback from friends!) All in all, I feel that my Expression is free in this visual medium. And most of all: I just like to do it.
BUT: Do I consider myself an "artist" when it comes to shooting, snapping or taking my pictures?
Oh, goodness no.
My Expression – my photography – is just a hobby. I'm not trained. I didn't go to school. I've never had an exhibit. I'm not an artist.
Or – here's e>v in action! – I think I've found my baggage around what I think it means to be "creative!"
Yep: I have a massive story here that "I'm not an artist."
So, who is?
My father is an artist. He's been painting watercolors for over 50 years. My friend Leslie is an artist, she is a powerful and professional dancer. My friend Tara is an artist, she devotes her life to her amazing work. The graffiti artists in the ArtScience Museum ... the guy sketching outside the cafe ... the painters and sculptors and filmmakers and designers and musicians and writers creating every day, all around the world ... all these people who are brave enough to simply share their voice with the world, never questioning whether or not to express, never hesitating to express, never NOT expressing ... these people are artists. Who just do it. Who just put it out there. Who just create. None of them asked for permission to be called an artist. They. Just. Were. Who. They. Were.
Or: Being an artist isn't something they became. It's something they already were.
So ... what about the rest of us?
Well, we're born expressing, moving, dancing, singing, howling, drawing, sculpting, performing ... we're expressive beings. But then, at some point in our lives, we lose this. As the majority of us get older, our society, parents, even schools "kill our creativity." Our inner artist is squashed, discouraged and left for dead. And this is seriously messed up.
(Even more messed up? On the flip side, research shows that in adulthood, in addition to personal fulfillment, there are so many proven health benefits to art and creativity. And, more amazingly, there are studies that state the process of expressing one's self doesn’t just make you feel better, it also creates real, physical changes inside your body. Sheesh, what's UP with this, people?!)
And so: it's time to reframe this conversation.
It's time to re-adjust and refocus our own artistic value – for the self-proclaimed artists as well as for all the newbies like me, ready to bravely share our voices with the world for the very first time.
At the museum, I learned that the word "graffiti" comes from the Italian verb "to scratch."
To scratch the surface of these possibilities, I make a new vow to myself. On this adventure, I'm going to practice being an artist. I'm going to live in a new space of creativity and connection. Explore everything and see our world through new eyes. Express my thoughts, feelings, and ideas about the world through my own medium – yes photos, but also writing ... cooking ... gardening ... whatever I can try, whenever I can try it. Through my new life as an artist.
You with me?