I Call it Art: The Inclusivity of Creativity
Across the Creating Confidently outlets I
have tried to limit my use of the word art in relation to the broader spectrum of creativity, but it is difficult to adhere to this rule when describing the end product of creative sessions.
Art by today’s standards generally refers to the traditional arts - theatre, drawing, painting, dancing, singing, writing, music, sculpting; something that is produced by a craft rather than a trade, an education or a skill. Even these traditional arts have expanded to include spoken word poetry, novels, performative art pieces, improvisation, photography. The classic school of thought is that art is decorative, it is pretty, it is contemplative; in short a study in beauty.
I believe that the art community has made leaps and bounds in recent years, particularly gaining recognition during the COVID-19 pandemic around their importance in society, their validity as careers and their necessity for a fulfilled and engaged life. We all benefit from the arts. But is there more to art than the traditional players?
I believe there is.
Art is not just for museums, galleries or the stage. It is not for poetry alone, nor prints on pretty paper. Art is not only for admiration and exhibition, there can be functionality to art, purpose beyond understanding and connection. Art can encompass anything that is made by an act of creativity. The table made by a carpenter, the interior design of a space, a menu at a restaurant, the chef’s soup of the day, a dessert in the window of a bakery, a dress hanging in a boutique; all of these are art. A child’s colouring page, a doodle done while on a tedious phone call, a finely worded e-mail to a colleague, a moment is sport, the rug in your entryway all count as art in my eyes. Some are more in line with the classical notion of what art ought to be. Anything, any moment where you find yourself saying, ‘wow, beautiful’ is a moment in which you have experienced art.
By boxing up this two dimensional idea of what art is and more importantly what it is not, we limit so many people who would call themselves artists, who would identify with a creative life and we simultaneously undervalue those who do follow the traditional art path. We tell them that we need your art, we want to consume your product, but we don’t value the life you lead. We don’t agree with scribbling your life away or always being covered in paints, but we want to consume what you give your life to create. We can look at a chair and say, ‘what a work of art’ but we do not call a carpenter an artist.
The product of creativity is art.
Have we not all heard one of these phrases in our lifetime: The art of business, the art of conversation, medicine is not an exact science, science is magic, fill in the blank is a work of art,.
What all of these phrases have in common is equating art to meaning beauty, art being abstract, art as something that is an in-between space, the insubstantial in relation to a hard career or science or idea. Art is a feeling we get when we look at a product or have an experience that is beyond the thing we are doing. Art makes us feel something beyond the everyday. Why can we not apply that word, art, to all things that give us more than the substantial?
We can, and we should.
By claiming the title of artist a carpenter acknowledges the creativity a piece demands. The trades describing a process as an art rather than an instruction manual admits the innovative creativity that problem solving requires. By saying medicine is not an exact science we recognize that there is no one right answer to every malady, that there may be room for experimentation, attempts made and failed. An entrepreneurs who see themselves as artists understand that business is not a one size fits all, there is no single model to work from for every type of business or every type of person, but there is a grey area in which they create their own path.
Creativity and art are not supposed to be limiting ideas. They are supposed to be inclusive, not exclusive; accessible, not unattainable. The reality of the everyday is that art is anywhere we can find beauty, wonder and something more. Art is the product of creativity. For some that is a painting, and that is just as valuable as the coffee table sitting in your living room, as the advertisement for a new business, as watching a moment in sports history. Art is the result of creativity. Some mask it under innovation and entrepreneurship, but creativity is at the root of all of these ventures, and creativity breeds art, no matter what you think art must be.
Art is meant to break down boundaries, open our minds and change our perceptions. Let art in, and call it like you see it, because to see art in everything is to understand the beauty of our everyday.