Sharing is caring.
At least that’s what the old adage says.
It’s an indication that you are choosing to share something, whether physical or otherwise. But recognizing that you care about the person enough to volunteer something to them, to willingly give without hoping of receiving anything back in return, but knowing that when that feeling is reciprocated, it is all the sweeter of a bond.
That’s probably why my mom pushes us so hard to participate in the family Secret Santa gift exchange we hold each Christmas eve. The intention of the exchange is to draw a name and then make something for another family member on a limited budget. I think the reason she enjoys it so much is that it’s important to her that we do something special for each other, its how she shows love and also the way she feels the most love from others.
It took me a lot of years to realize that fact about her.
Commercial VS Personal
Which is why today I’m going to share one of my most dearly held theories with you.
The theory that there are only really two kinds of art to be made out in the wilderness.
Art that is primarily focused on it’s message or which comes direct from the author, and sometimes is known as fine art.
The alternative, and this is not a bad thing… is art that is primarily focused on realizing another’s vision and which is paid for by another party upfront, also known as a commission or commercial art.
You see dear readers, you can either make art with the intention of getting paid first or about making a statement first, but you cannot do both. And it is possible for both components to be satisfied, but whatever path you choose will determine the pace of which each component is nurtured first and most. In other words, you can be a successful artist which path you choose, but it takes time to grow that tree.
Kickstart My He(art)
Which is why I made the choice long, long ago, that all of my art would have intention first and be about making a sale second. That was my decision to make, and mine alone, but every creative thing I have made since that decision has been far more rewarding for me and has led to some fantastic opportunities in other areas of my life.
It’s where I came up with the phrase “start with heart, then you’ll make art”
And now the tie-in.
I started this post writing about our family Secret Santa tradition because in 2016 I finally got an opportunity to fulfill a wish for my mom. To build a tree which would support her chickadee drawings that I made for her over six years ago. My mom loves chickadees and the last time I drew her name for Secret Santa, I made a group of them to represent our family.
So over the course of a few weeks this past December, and with a little luck, I was able to sneak into my parents house, borrow her chickadee drawings and determine how best to construct a tree for them.
After I measured everything, I quickly determined that this project wasn’t going to be done in time no matter what I did. You see dear readers, by deciding what to do with the tree, I had effectively created a theme and an artist statement to go along with it, which made the project incomplete no matter how I resolved it.
The Family Tree
As I later wrote down in a handwritten card to my mother, this tree now represents her and the chickadees on it are her immediate family.
My dad, my two brothers, my sister, myself, and now my brother’s fiancee. So the project may be complete, and yet, it isn’t. As each of the children grow and potentially come into relationships, we’ll add more chickadees to the tree for her to support and love. And as grandchildren show up, there will be even more chickadees to fill that tree. A testament to her strong roots and protective branches, nurturing us with the leaves and berries that grow up and outward.
So as you can clearly see, and as I have already mentioned, this is a project that while now completed, really has no end in sight, but the intention makes it all the more meaningful. And on top of that, as you are beginning to see, all of my artwork is related to conceptions of identity self-imposed, self-reflective, self-directed, etc.
I hope that this post has inspired you for yet another week out there in the wilderness, creative cuties. I’m out of theories for now. I’ll see you on Sunday with an interview preview, featuring a friend of mine named Byron.