Why I Do What I Do – EP 268

The Savvy Painter Podcast is officially 8 years old! I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about why I do what I do. I’m often asked why I devote so much time and energy to helping other artists. The short answer is that it’s my passion. On this episode, I’ll discuss the long answer and share snippets of conversations with other artists discussing my WHY, art’s impact on humanity, and the power of invitation.

Outline of This Episode

  • [2:37] What’s your dollar amount to stop making art?
  • [5:28] My WHY and what separates dreamers from doers.
  • [10:57] Creativity as human nature and fighting to keep art in the culture
  • [20:55] The artist’s invitation

Art is integral to the human experience

For 8 years, I have been recording this podcast and helping other artists get past their mental blocks and be confident in the studio. When artists are confident they free themselves to create from the heart, from a place of authenticity, and from a deeper intimacy with their true selves. When artists do that, they create their most powerful work. They trust themselves. They allow themselves to have time and space to develop ideas and experiment. They learn how to communicate in this language we speak that has no words. It is a primal language. One that a lot of people have lost touch with. Remembering that language, using that language, and becoming fluent in it have a profound effect on our own mental health and our sense of happiness and fulfillment in life.

That’s why we get grumpy and feel unsettled if we go too long without painting. That’s why so many artists I talk to literally get teary-eyed at just the idea of not painting anymore. It’s also why the very idea that “maybe I’m not really an artist” is so unsettling. Terrifying even. Without our art, as individuals, we suffer. Because art is so integral to who we are. It grounds us. It allows us painters to express in color, line, and shape what we cannot say in words. Same for all other visual artists, musicians, and dancers. Every culture has its artists, drum circles, and dancers. It’s part of what connects us as humans and allows us to self-regulate and heal each other’s wounds. Art doesn’t just matter on a personal and individual level to me, it matters to society as a whole.

Many streams, one river

Everyone has the capacity to become the artist they want to be. It’s not dependent on the amount of time you pursue it either. Sure, some things take time to learn and perfect, but being an artist longer does not entitle someone to identify as more of an artist. Or as better than they currently are. Everyone’s journey is different. We are ALL artists doing this thing together. One of the main reasons I coach and produce this podcast is I can’t get the image of a river out of my head. All of art is represented by it and we as artists, all artists, feed into that river. That river is a source of life. It sustains. It has its own ecosystem that is completely dependent on us. And if we don’t continue feeding the river by adding ourselves into it, the whole world suffers. Maybe that’s a lofty idea, but I believe that artists are part of what connects humans to humanity. I do what I do because I want to do everything possible to keep that river flowing.

Protect your flame

There is a story I love called Un Mar de Fueguitos by Eduardo Galeano. It’s the story of a man who climbed up to the heavens and saw all of human life as a sea of little flames. Each person had their own light and no two flames are alike. Some were so delicate, a small wind would blow them out. Others were crazy and filled the air with sparks. There were silly fires that gave no light or heat, and there were fires that burned so hot that whoever got near them would be set ablaze.

I draw such strong parallels between Un Mar de Fueguito and the artist’s journey. My big takeaway is that it is SO important to protect our flame. To make sure that no matter how they burn, they aren’t extinguished. Some people think there are too many artists. I think there aren’t enough! I think what we do helps keep our communities and our cultures sane and stable. These past few years we have all experienced pain, suffering, and individual trauma. Art is something that can help heal and reunite us with our greater selves and with that part of us that sees the uniqueness and brilliance of each individual. That’s the same place where empathy and kindness come from. We need to cultivate that, nurture it, and make sure it gets passed along.

Resources Mentioned on this episode

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