Artists are gifted with a peculiar genius for translating ideas into action and form. It requires the ability to ground fantasies and daydreams into practical reality.
As Artists, we often lead lives where we live within our own private world. This world is often triggered by the circumstances of our childhood
As Artists, we often lead lives where we live within our own private world. This world is often triggered by the circumstances of our childhood.
We might be raised in a family that doesn’t understand us, neighbourhoods or schools or even cultures where we don’t fit in or have feelings of being underappreciated. Sometimes we are the child who learns to play alone in busy households where others are always too preoccupied to join in.
Most artists endure repeated criticisms and misunderstandings throughout childhood even from parents who love us. Why? — Because we all live in a world that instantly demands conformity and fitting into an official preprogrammed narrative of life. However, creative people by our very nature are against this blanket conformity and instinctively rebel against it because we value self-expression and individuality as our highest ideal.
Our self-expression automatically breaks the conformity box wide open and releases us into embodying the unique person that we are each born to be. This inherent weirdness indirectly creates a tension that only parents with the deepest understanding of our creative nature will be able to appreciate and allow room for.
(*In my own life, I was the black kid who listened to classical and world music and wanted to dye my afro hair green and get tattoos that I designed myself … juxtapose this against my strict conservative Christian family who feared doing or saying anything different that made them stand out. Fitting in was their highest priority yet learning to express more of myself was mine, so yep… queue a clash of direction and a backdrop of constant chastising against my creativity).
However, we Artists realize from a very young age that its OK to be different, and infact being weird is actually a spiritual gift that results from us directly reflecting our own unique selves (spirit) to the world.
I recently watched a young Nepalese contestant named Arthur Gunn sing a Bob Dylan song at his American Idol audition. I could just imagine how weird Arthur must have seemed to both his immigrant family and neighbours when growing up. I wondered how many of them tried to get him to let go of his silly dreams of becoming a singer or just wanted him to only sing traditional Nepalese songs in order to fit in with his community. Yet somehow the strength of his weirdness (unique self) eventually shined through, and he now serves as a beacon of light in the show and in the world.
Artists are inherently free-spirits who beat to their own drums and we love questioning everything rather than instantly kowtow to the line of a preordained family or cultural narrative.
So in order to protect ourselves, many artists retreat into our visions, daydreams and fantasies as a refuge and solitude from the world. (The artist Yayoi Kusama is a perfect example of this phenomenon). It is this same world of visions, daydreams and fantasies that we later begin to translate out into the real world through our creative work.
As we progress on our artistic journey, we search for interesting and fun ways to share the delights and beauty of our imaginary world through creative expression. This inner world that we share through our art, then captures the imagination of others as they join in and interact with our creative output.
It becomes a sort of unconscious dance between our gift and its effect on society. We start to transform the unbelievable to the believable and the impossible to the possible.
Art, dance, film, music, photographs that delight and transform the world are all born from our inner private realm, the place of our weirdness.
So to be a great artist, I offer you this humble tip… try your best to embrace your weirdness (your unique self), inhabit your inner world unapologetically and embrace your daydreams, fantasies and visions. Try to find ways to share it with the outer world through whatever artistic medium your heart chooses.
Accept that its OK to be different. The world is full of conformity, try instead to muster the courage to walk your own unique path.
As you find the courage to keep sharing yourself with the world, you will find that what you offer the world is indeed special. A breath of fresh air that in turn liberates others and empowers them to also become more of their own unique and authentic selves.
Like a song that begins in the privacy of the artist’s home… When its eventually released to the world, people will start to sing the lyrics and dance. Your lyrics give expression to their own thoughts and voice. The music forms the backdrop to many memories ranging from weddings to birthday celebrations/etc. What initially existed only in your inner world now becomes something that offers a unique perspective to the world and connects you to the outer world and vice versa.
Your weirdness (unique self) becomes the glue that connect us all. So always appreciate and embrace it. For your weirdness is actually your superpower and spiritual gift.
“I have a flood of ideas in my mind. I just follow my vision.”– Yayoi Kusama