My thoughts of late have focused a great deal on creativity. What exactly is it? Am I creative? How much do I desire to be creative? Am I seen as creative when I don't feel that I am? What are ways that I can add creativity into everyday life so that in time I can evolve into that creative being I so wish to be? What does it mean to be creative?
I remember the first time that I attended and art show with two friends of mine that were very much into "art". I didn't understand the process of the appreciation, in part because I could not understand why everyone didn't appreciate the same things. In time, I have learned that this is exactly what makes art "art". What speaks to one is not what speaks to others, but when you find what speaks to you, something happens inside that can't be explained. It is as if the piece strikes a chord in you that is completely in tune and echoes within your body and soul. But I still did not understand how to create that art or the process an artist engages in when they create.
Photography is my hobby and not my profession. My profession deals a great deal with words and paper and numbers and risks. Not something that one would traditionally think of as creative. I work in downtown Austin in one of the more recognizable high rises. Over the years, that high rise has been populated by professional firms filled with people like me--accountants, lawyers, engineers, etc. But as the city of Austin grows and evolves, the tenants of that building and likewise the people that I share an elevator with every day, have changed. They are young. And they thrive to be creative. They opt for backpacks and flip flops and messy hair over heels and briefcases.
My focus on creativity did not arise from this experiences alone, but living in this city which rewards creativity and making friends with people of various interests has made me question the narrative that I have lived with for so long. "I am not creative and I don't have what it takes to be creative. I should leave that for those who can."
My photography has been something that I have turned to in times of grief or stress. It has provided an outlet and a release for the feelings I have been holding deep inside me. These times have also coincided with phases in my life in which I have tried to rediscover who I really am and not just who I think I am or should be. It has given me a safe way to express myself and to find beauty in a world that I am struggling to make sense of at the moment. It has provided me with peace and joy.
I have only recently connected the dots between the fact that what I am doing is creating art and being creative when I pick up that camera or post-process in Lightroom. Therefore, it is only recently that I have realized that being creative is the means in which I can feel safe to express who I am, to dip my toes in the water of something new, and to erase some of the paragraphs of my internal narrative and rewrite it.
This has even led me to look for other opportunities to be creative. What do I wear today? I find that fashion is a way to be creative because I am creating my own style. What do I want to listen to on the way home on my commute? I find myself listening to new artists and reading about their processes of making music. And...I just bought a piano. While I initially told myself it was for my girls to learn how to play, the real reason is that I want them to experience the beauty of music early in their lives because of the creative process involved in making music. And I want to relearn to play myself.
I recently watched the Tony Awards and was taken aback by a speech made by Daveed Diggs who received the award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his performance in Hamilton. He told a story of being a young boy and receiving the permission and support of his parents to do what others were not doing and how he credited that early experience to his success as an artist. Being creative to me is an unbridled process where one can create something that is beautiful to them, no matter the consequences or the judgement. There is so much to learn from this process.
Here's to making more art in my life.