To live a creative life we must lose our fear of being wrong.
I don’t know who wrote those words but they are so true. For most of my life the biggest part of my reluctance to create art or once created keep it hidden was that it (and I) was “wrong” or unacceptable or undefinable or not worthy of notice. It didn’t help when I would show my art – in whatever form it took at the time – to other people and they would say something along the lines of “I don’t get it.” Of course, I have said that about art as well.
What does the statement, “I don’t get it” really mean anyway? Is it necessary for me or anyone else to “get it?” Isn’t the act of creating the art worth something whether it is meaningless to me or not? I don’t know. That really isn’t my focus here because ultimately, art is subjective, or to quote an age old adage, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
My focus rather, is on how my fear of being wrong stifled my creative drive. I have always created art and when I feared it was unacceptable, I created acceptable art. Sometimes I feel as if I wasted half of my life being afraid. It is easy for me to feel that way because of my morose brain.
What helped me get beyond that fear were two things: God and age. As I’ve grown older I slowly began not to care about what other people thought, especially regarding my art. The old dragon still hangs about but I remind myself each day to ignore his snorts of derision and contemptuous laughter. I remind myself that God created me as I am – creative streak and all – and it is my responsibility as a child of God to use the gift He gave me.
Sometimes my work is plain and simple; other times it is a mystery even to me. But those mysterious works of art are expressions of my inner self and I need to honor that self, not ignore her. So, if I stand at my work table or in a museum or gallery and look at the art before me and wonder, “I don’t get it” – maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe the work is understood only by the subconscious me.
Regardless, I need not fear creating art of any kind. It matters not what the world thinks. It only matters what I think and what I think God thinks (after all, who really knows the mind of God?).