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Creating Something

June 26, 2023 12:17 PM | Anonymous

By: Tracy Childs

“So, you’re the Artist?” I was once asked by a stout woman with wavy blond hair.

I fixated on her hair because it appeared fluffy and carefree, but in fact only achieved this effect by every single hair being very deliberately placed into individual curls. It framed her heart shaped face and jaw line, drawing maximum attention down to the complimentary shades of scarlet in her glossy lipstick, garnet necklace, and decorative stitching around the collar of her suit jacket. She was so well put together; she sparkled despite the uninspired fluorescent lighting of the trade show market space.

“Does it cost a lot to look that good?” “Is the person who did your hair an Artist?” I mused.

So many thoughts I had at that moment, but I’ve been told it is rude to answer a question with a question so instead I stammered, “Um, I don’t know if I would call it Art” I said, finally answering her question.

She blinked her full lashes at me before turning the seamlessly applied makeup covered lids back to the home made items for sale on my table. Photos engraved and painted on ceramic tiles, mirrors framed in old barn wood and cowhide, and decorative pillows sewn together from leather and fabric scraps.

She moved on to the next booth without making a purchase. It has always made me uncomfortable when people call me an “Artist”. Who are they to be handing out such a title? How do I know I deserve it? I just make the things my brain tells me to make.

I have never taken any art classes, I do not know any art theory. My brain just shows me a picture of something over and over on repeat, allowing relief from the constant image bombardment only once I achieve the success of creating something similar. Most times, in order to make the things my brain wants me to, I have to acquire a new skill, learn a new technique, or use unfamiliar equipment. There is usually a learning curve, as well as trial and error; LOTS of trial and error. 

Error after error to the point where I have a lot of random knowledge packed into my brain of what I know does NOT work but I still always only manage to figure out a BETTER way to do something, never the BEST way to do something. Then my brain shows me something different and the cycle starts again.

There is no finish line for a creative brain, because there is no race. There is no diploma or Graduation Day because there is no certification to designate a person as “creative.”

There is no test anyone can give me to know I am succeeding at creativity and so, conversely, no one has the authority to tell me that I am failing at it either.

I am creating something at this very moment, and that in itself is the goal.

“Yes, I am the Artist.” Is what I should have confidently told the well put together lady with the perfectly fluffy blond hair, “and so is whoever did your hair – it looks fabulous!”

I am Creative. That makes me an Artist. If I am Writing, then I am a Writer. If I am Dreaming, then I am a Dreamer. If I am Styling hair, then I am a Stylist. Even if I am just nailing scraps of leather to barn wood, as long as I am creating something that someone somewhere enjoys then that makes it Art.

Yes, even if the only person who enjoys it is me.

I do not need credentials or permission to give myself creative titles, as long as I am, in fact, CREATING SOMETHING.

And neither do you.

By: Tracy Childs

“So, you’re the Artist?” I was once asked by a stout woman with wavy blond hair.

© Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County

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