artistic freedom

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Hoooo boy, I’m out of practice! I have dropped the ball! Or, we could look at it another way: wow, it was so great to experience my totally planned end-of-year newsletter break. So glad I scheduled that. So glad to be back with you.

However I decide to look at it (I’ll likely switch back and forth a few times before I finish writing and send this out), I just want to assert for you and for me that there is no timeline on artistry for art’s sake.

Yes, capitalism tends to throw a wrench in the mix, but if we decouple our creative practice from money-making, then we can truly experience freedom. We can make because it brings joy, catharsis, relief. We can make because it’s fun. And sometimes it can just be fun.

I am not forgetting that art can be a powerful medium for bringing about justice, for opening up eyes to humanity, trust me. But I also want to highlight the fact that art can be a practice of enjoyment, of wildness, of connecting to childhood or the child within.

Children do not paint or draw or build or play games of imagination because they hope to be paid for it or because they have a message to share, they do it because it is an experience of being a creature and it brings pleasure. Dogs play, birds play; hell, I don’t know about insects, but I wouldn’t be shocked to learn there is some play within their days. Yes, art is important and can be used to open minds and make change, but also it can just be joyful and fun.

You can probably tell I feel a tension. Let’s name it. To expect something, anything, to be free from race, class, sexuality, gender, is not only wrong, but also incredibly privileged. But also, BUT ALSO, to monetize every waking moment, to literally capitalize on every urge, is to be trapped in our incredibly violent economic system.

So I also urge you to play, have fun, enjoy things with the simple pleasure of being in the moment. There is a tension there, I know. it’s not enough to simply name it, but that’s where I’m starting– still grappling with the balance. Maybe I’ll do the ultimate flip-a-roo: declare it a statement and a protest to just enjoy the process of making. Maybe this was just a long diatribe trying to give myself permission to do so. Save yourself the time. Read my wishing and washing and then consider yourself free to play and enjoy.

prompt #57:

That’s today’s prompt. Just give yourself permission to play with no hope of an end product. Just enjoy the process. I won’t even give an example because that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

Play and never share it. Play and then rip it up or burn it or stuff it in a drawer or just flip to the next page. Let it be open-ended and let it be free.

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