Art and Living Authentically

A friend of mine and I were speaking several years ago now about the nature of being an artist. He is a writer, among other things, and explained that he believes the true artist is one who creates in solitude, with no intent to share. For those artists who do display their work, he believes there is an element of egotism. I’ve since, spent much time thinking about what it means to be an artist, to live artistically, and to share one’s art, and subsequently one’s self, with the world.

The act of creating something and then putting that creation into a space for judgment makes one incredibly vulnerable. I see this act of vulnerability as, in a way, a proxy for the vulnerability that comes with authentic existence – putting your self into the world, in its most authentic form. This type of living takes an incredible amount of courage and yes, perhaps some amount of ego.

I can only speak for myself, though I assume it’s the case for many others, that the intention I have in sharing the things I create – whether it’s a piece of writing or a piece of music, is made up of many things. The desire for praise. Affirmation. Acknowledgment. I suppose my intention involves a small amount of each of these and therein lies my ego. But mostly, for me, it’s about connection.

Despite the vast connections afforded us through technology and social media many of us feel lonely and disconnected. Even if we aren’t overly absorbed in technology, our culture makes it easy to feel disconnected from an authentic life. I strongly believe that a lack of creativity – in any form – is a significant part of this. We have become a culture of consumers. How are we to imagine anything when the answers, images, and inspiration are always provided for us?

There is such a deep and inherent need for connection in this world and art, in every form, is a conduit of this connection. One person shares something they’ve created, and in it, their hopes, suffering, or thoughts, and another realizes they have loved, or lost, thought, or experienced something similar at another time, in another place, by another name. And in this way, I believe, the two are connected.

The creation of art allows us an authentic connection with ourselves and the sharing of art allows us an authentic connection with others. Basically art will save the world. So go create something. 😉

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