Helen English Artist
Creative highs and lows...
This year has certainly been an interesting one, with one thing and another, and humanity seems to have been expressed in distinct ways. In my small corner of the world, I have noticed how this has been reflected in creativity. Much as it may seem that I just leap from one creative escapade to the other, it doesn’t mean that I don’t wake up some days and groan “Groundhog day!” This week I had a day when it took me a couple of hours, and making myself do something creative, to start the cylinders firing. I really do wish that the world would just regularly come knocking twice a week at times but then I remember how I always disliked being tied to regularity and that I chose to work like this.
I know that I am not the only one who goes through creative highs and lows, and over the past few weeks I have made it my mission to purposefully speak to a mixture of people who enjoy creating and ask how this tumultuous year has affected their efforts. Turns out that they fell into two distinct camps without exception. Those who used art as an escape and those who found that their energy was needed in other areas of their lives. My caveat here is that this was not a scientific study and you are allowed to fall in the middle somewhere! I did do much thinking though about the conversations which I had.
If you are like I was this year, and found that you got creative, then you likely found that it was incredibly freeing. I know that while creating, my mind is locked into what I am doing. I often think about lots of things but strangely don’t have time for worrying about them. It seems to simplify problems and lighten the load. Time also seems to morph. Half an hour becomes three. Not a bad thing as long as you remember to eat and drink! The four or five weeks of complete lockdown, which we experienced in New Zealand, followed by a few weeks where we edged out of it, were the making of my art making business. It gave me time to think without outside influence. Although I have lulls in my enthusiasm, I do try and take myself back to that time in my mind and remember that I can let go of the world. It will still be there if I have a few days to myself when I need to.
For those who have felt a little guilty for not pursuing artsy endeavours? Don’t! I spent years not making a lot of art and you do get back to it when you’re ready. You don’t have to make art your living. It can be your pastime. There are many degrees of involvement with the world in terms of your art. You can just do it for yourself. You can do it to learn a skill. You can decorate your house with it, or hide it in a cupboard, if you want to. You can sell it at a local market stall with a car boot open and a fold up table, or a gazebo, twice a year or every week. You can find a local shop which will take your work. You can build a website and go for gold. You can do nothing or everything. As long as you are happy doing it.
There are also so many interesting opportunities to explore other people’s art, and that can be the very thing to do. Having a look at what other people do is a valid way of expressing yourself artistically. It’s about appreciating how amazing being human is. It might even just light that creative spark again.