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Mini Series: Appreciating Artistic Creativity

Although this is the most prevalent and pervasive form of creativity we recognize and celebrate, we also tend to undermine its value as a society. We do this by gawking at paying an artist for their work, or the expense of a piece of art. We do this when we don’t want to have to pay the same price or less than a sports ticket to see a play. We do this by assuming our friends and family will give us free access to their art. I just want to say that we have all been guilty of this at some point in our lives. When artists are being kind and giving discounts or doing a project for free it is their decision to do so and not because you have an entitled right to their art.

This is the creativity that gets called indulgent, selfish, useless. Artistic creativity is dismissed as frivolous and inaccessible, talent driven, free spirited. However, some of the most revolutionary moments in our history, some of the most important events in humanity were started, expressed, or memorialized through art. Art is a reflection of how we see the world, the narrative of how we operate within it, a study in what it is to be human and hunger for connection. Artistic creativity is all about expression, beauty, and making for the sake of making! This is the space of traditional art, and non traditional expression.

I’ve spoken about my artistic creative journey many times through dance and the fundamental struggles I encountered when relating to it as art, but here we go again! Dance for me was always about technique, vocabulary, posture, development, the exam critiques. It took me several years to really find my sense of artistry and connection, musicality and expression. This was only made possible by some incredible mentors on my dance journey who encouraged me to open myself up to the music. We were also given the privilege of working with choreography from my biggest mentor and influence that she created out of a period of struggle and grief in her life. Being trusted with such an impactful piece that was deeply personal, I think my sense of responsibility as an artist really kicked in full force. And that was really the first time I felt such a commitment to my artistry as a dancer.

This particular mentor was able to pull out artistry in her dancers at every age; the narrative and storytelling that took place in her pieces was legendary and pushed us all to find something deep within ourselves to bring to the stage. She’d pulled artistry out of me before in some other pieces as well, but this final piece she trusted the senior class with that last year was really the one that opened the floodgates, just as that outlet in my life was closing its door. That’s where I stepped in to teach and choreograph. Choreography for me feels more artistic than dance itself did. I think again it comes from that sense of responsibility to the music, the concept, and the dancers, to give them something they can relate to, strive for, and put themselves into, to push them to bring something of themselves into the work.

Artistry is so beautiful because there are no wrong ways to be artistic, there is no right way to create art, there is no correct answer when making beautiful things. There is still purpose to art, there is revolution in art, there is meaning in art, there is communication, concepts, expression, grace, and hope in art. Art is not artifice, it is the most real and vulnerable and courageous a person can be in this life. However, making it commercial, asking for compensation for your time and effort and energy and product is valid and right and true! This is soul work, and if it speaks to your soul, paying for the privilege is not a travesty, it is a joy.

The Condensed list of Artistic Pursuits:

Tattoos, Painting, Drawing, sketching, Pastels, Charcoal, Dance, Poetry, Sculpture, Acting, Singing, Musicianship

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