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  • Writer's pictureJennie Powe Runde

Are you an Artist?

I have a question for you- do you consider yourself an artist?

There's a quote I love, often attributed to Pablo Picasso, which goes something like:

"Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist once he or she grows up."

Over time I've come to believe something different...

One of my earliest memories is when I was around 3 years old. I was living in Germany with my family, staying in Army housing. On this day, I was drawing with crayons by myself. When I was done, I brought the drawing to my mom, who was busy doing something else. As I proudly displayed my drawing, my mom looked it over and, not unkindly, asked... “What is it?”

What was it?

I hadn’t considered that the drawing had to be something.

I looked at the green lines and shapes...and decided to make something up.

I decided to answer the question in a way that felt understandable, translatable.

I told her it was an alligator.

In order to be recognized and understood, sometimes we have to communicate in a way that others can understand.

You may have a similar story- of changing yourself, your idea, or your offering in order to fit the expectations of others. Or having to find the words to express something that has no easy, simple way of being expressed.

Many of us decide early on whether or not we are “an artist”. And unless we have been encouraged and supported in claiming that title, many, if not most of us, choose to identify as NOT an artist.

And if that is the choice, and the decision is made, where is the room to simply be...creative?

Is it ok to have the intention of bringing our full creative selves to our lives, our challenges, and what brings us joy? Or is that just something that only “an artist” gets to do?

I believe that all of us, including and especially those of us that do not often see ourselves reflected in the world around us, have to use our creativity to create the world as we need it to be, as opposed to how it is.

For me, working as an expressive arts therapist allows me to offer this to folks who have decided that they are not an artist and therefore are not creative.

I’m not trying to encourage everyone to be an artist- that may not be your path. I do want to encourage everyone to embrace their inherent creativity.

That may mean:

-noticing all the colors on our next walk around the neighborhood

-channeling creativity into what we love- cooking, reading, tending our plants, writing, stretching

-not making things palatable to those that we love

-embracing what makes us different, unique, or “other”

-seeing our flaws as gifts

-trying something new

-embracing the call to create

-being ok with being misunderstood

-finding ways to speak to ourselves (through drawing, singing, dancing, sculpting) whether or not anyone else sees it, or likes it, or understands it.

Here’s hoping you are finding ways to express yourself creatively during these strange times, without having to censor or explain it.

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