Hello, all! Today we have a guest post with, hands down, one of the most creative people I know. When I talk about people who create their best life, Chuck is a perfect example. He has not only worked hard to succeed in a very competitive field (he’s a vet!), he also finds tons of ways to bring his love of art into his life. Read, and be inspired – and then go check out Chuck Does Art!
Art has always been a pretty big part of my life. OK, doodling has always been a pretty big part of my life. I’m an avid dilettante of The Arts and have always strived to incorporate Art into whatever I’m doing as often as possible. This was pretty easy in high school and college, when I had plenty of time to doodle during lectures, paint posters for campus events, and design T-shirts for clubs. Once I graduated though, there were a lot less opportunities to do Art as part of my day to day life. Very few offices need silly T-shirt designs on a regular basis, or a silly music video explaining a topic in biology. My life just stopped ‘requiring’ (‘reluctantly permitting’) as much Art as it had during school.
As a sort of stop-gap measure, I started a blog to document the Art I was doing, and to encourage myself to continue trying out more Art. The blog is primarily instructionals about my various Art projects, including anything from Halloween costumes to jewelry boxes. By making tutorials, I feel like maybe my Art can reach someone else and help them do something fun and creative. Far and away the most satisfying part of my blog is when someone posts a comment that they tried out XYZ project I posted and enjoyed it. But having the blog itself still means I need to find ‘reasons’ to do Art.
I break my Art projects into two categories, which in my head I consider ‘Embellished Opportunities’ and ‘Art for Art:’
‘Art for Art’ pertains to anything I do or make that really had no other social or functional purpose. This primarily includes paintings, drawings, and other 2D Art which I make because I personally enjoy it. These pieces only exist because I took some extra time out of my schedule to sit down and be otherwise completely unproductive. It’s very satisfying, but I can’t always justify the time commitment. Lately I’ve taken to photography in order to add a bit of Art into what I’m already doing (walking around outside) without having to take extra time out of the day.
‘Embellished Opportunities’ is where I really thrive, and where I put a lot of my Art focus. These include any projects which I can justify as either a gift to someone else (usually my wife), part of a larger project or creation (such as an illustration for a paper), or culturally/socially condoned Art opportunities (pumpkin carving, Easter eggs, food art, etc). These are my guilt-free Art projects that I can ‘justify’ focusing on and really bringing to life with the pretense that it’s something I’m required to do anyways.
‘Embellished Opportunities’ can pop up anywhere, at any time, and I’m constantly on the lookout for the next one. Some are big, some are small, many are weird. My wife’s jewelry box broke? I better design a new one. My friend’s Battlestar Galactica board game pieces are unpainted? I better offer to help. We need invitation/thank you/birthday/sympathy cards? I’m on it. The Hot Dish contest needs prizes? I’ll make wooden spoon trophies!
One great ‘Embellished Opportunity’ I had lately was this past Christmas. My wife and I agreed to do only DIY presents for each other. Did we save money? Not really. Did we save time? Absolutely not. Did we enjoy the heck out of it? Yes! The types of presents we gave each other were nothing like what we would have bought (knitted hats, a Nutcracker Crèche, homemade Vanilla extract, etc), and they are so much more personal and enjoyable. Let’s face it; we’re adults. If we really want something, we can go buy it. But to make something for someone, to put some heart and elbow grease into a present, it just makes it a lot more important. This has turned into a bit of a tangent, but writing is not traditionally one of my Art categories.
I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to find work in my chosen field, but my career doesn’t involve a lot of artistic expression. So when I’m not working, I make sure that I’m taking available opportunities to let my creative juices flow. I’m always on alert for a project in need of Art, and have the Michaels app on my phone in case I need to make an emergency trip for craft supplies.