An artist is a peculiar, particular, and very special kind of a person. I once was called an artist, and it was one of the greatest honors.
First of all, artists aren’t just painters, in case you thought so. Or a musician. An artist isn’t something you do or create. Artists can be musicians, philosophers, writers, painters, sculptors, inventors, craftsmen, fashion designers, developers, and, I would argue, even scientists. So what makes an artist, an artist?
An artist is one in a million. Perhaps one in two million. An artist sees the world differently from everyone else. There’s some layer of our perceptions that we just don’t see, that artists see. They see potential, not just events. They don’t see impossibilities, they see realities. They don’t just perceive things, they dream things. They don’t look, they envision. Colors aren’t just another shade to make things interesting. Colors are what makes life worth living. Small things that are mundane to others become incredible to artists. Memories are precious. Everything they see in life has a meaning and a purpose. They see past what their eyes can see and look with their soul. They breathe and create with every part of them.
What an artist sees as important isn’t what the world sees as important. Artists live to dream. Artists live to create. Artists live to see potential come to life. Artists live to see something beautiful be born out of nothing. An artist doesn’t find their own life or body as important. They relish in the more beautiful things in life. An artist is never prideful, their motives, when they produce true art, is always pure. They love the good things in life. They despise evil. They fall in love with that which makes life beautiful and incredible. Things like grace, mercy, kindness, goodness, zeal and passion, beauty, empathy, laughter, joy, compassion, but most of all love.
Oh how an artist falls in love with love!
An artist finds beauty in all they can. The sad truth though, is the life of an artist is looked down upon. When an artist sees such beauty, and tries to share it with the world or explain it to them, the world simply doesn’t understand. The majority sneers at true beauty. It hisses at an artist’s attempts to reveal his or her world to them. When you realize that only a sporadic few see the world as you do, it becomes a depressing thought. It’s brought some to terrible thoughts. Others, it brings to determination, to somehow make the world see themselves and their surroundings as they do. But alas, as much as they might try, they can only achieve so much. With their creation, for an instant people see the world as they do. Only to forget about it as soon as that creation passes from their vision. As if the way an artist views everything is a pair of sunglasses that can be put on for a moment in the view of such obvious, glaring beauty, but as soon as they can look away, the glasses are removed.
This is why for centuries artists have attempted to create the biggest displays of art they can. The longest, most touching songs. They attempt to put so much of themselves in their art, so that way maybe, just maybe, some people might see the world how they do. The world might see beauty once again. Just maybe, this time, people might leave those lenses on, because there’s simply no way for them to look away from the sun because it covers all of their vision.
Some get close. Some manage to change a few into artists. Others fail. All die. Yet, I see it as living far better than any other kind of person.
I’m realizing that although I’m not sure whether I have the right to call myself an artist, I do see things differently.
I see the world different from how others see it. I don’t enjoy what the world loves. I love things like fresh air. I love hikes and hiking trails. I love mountains and the freshness of the air on them. I love exploring the woods. I love getting lost. I love green grass between my toes. I love giant, open fields that you can run in. I love wheat fields that you can hide in. I love thunder storms, and rainy days. I love the beauty of the stars. I love being alone and thinking. I love the smell of fresh water, or the smell of the beach. I love the feeling of October breezes. I love watching the seasons turn. I love the colors the world can create. Actually, I just love color. I love seeing something new. I love listening to a piano that is being played by someone who’s putting their heart and soul into their music. I love the way sounds are made. I love the sound of footsteps. I love the sound of laughter on a summer day. I love the sound of a child laughing. I love sitting outside and just listening to birds. I love the gurgling of streams. I love the sound of cars driving by in the night. I love things like love. I love simply existing next to someone. I love being able to hold someone in my arms as the world spins around them and me. I love it when people smile. I love kindness and joy and positive attitudes. I love beauty, not just in people, in the world. I love hearing the different way people speak, especially if they have a beautiful voice. I love hearing people spill their hearts. I love the sound of pen against paper. I love the smell of a good book, or a new book. I love the smell of a book that’s been there through everything with someone. I love the smell of flowers. I love just walking, with absolutely nowhere to go. I love being me. I love dancing and swaying to classical piano music. I love singing to myself. I love the way my fingers roll off the strings on any instrument, or the way the notes sound whenever I play an instrument. There’s nothing else like these things. You can try to replicate it, but it won’t be the same. There’s art in these things.
Let me assure you though, that an artist, although different and incredible in their own right and therefore beautiful, is not in anyway “better” than anyone else. Their lives are not in anyway automatically more “successful” in the way the world looks at success. They might see their own lives as more successful because of what they love. Their version of success is much different from the world’s. An artist doesn’t care who sees their art, or who sees them. Their success isn’t measured by the amount of awe they inspire, or the amount of views they can accumulate. Their success is measured by the amount of themselves they put into what they do. If an artist puts themselves wholeheartedly into something, and then finishes that something, that is success to them. To fail is for something of theirs to be artificial, or not of their own design. There’s nothing more humiliating for an artist than to be forced into doing something that has none of their soul in it, whether by peers or to simply survive. As a musician, I would rather not write music ever again than have someone else create my music for me. Even if that music would top the charts. There’s something just fake about it and I don’t see the point in having me perform something that isn’t me.
All that is to say, artists often go unnoticed, unappreciated, and occasionally go insane. However, they’re beautiful in their own right, and they appreciate things that no one else will. The world wouldn’t be the same without them, and their creativity is what inspired many of the most beautiful pieces of art ever. So if you happen to know an artist, let them know that you think they’re awesome. Let them know that you think whatever it is they do is incredible and they need to chase their art no matter what.
If you are an artist, then this is for. You’re incredible. You might not feel like it all the time, but you are. You’re differences are so unique and beautiful, like the things you create. The way you see the world is wonderful, don’t ever try to hide it. Enjoy the things you love that no one else loves. Admit your differences. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Don’t be afraid to share your gifts and vision with the world. They’re a gift that needs to be shared. We all need more people like you. We need you to share the little bit of beauty you have with everyone. Because, for some people, it’s the one of the only beautiful things they may see.