I’ve often wondered if, as an artist, I shouldn’t do more to use my art as a vehicle to add to the narrative that we’re all sharing in the world today. Throughout history, many artists have used their talents and skills to make connections with people around serious social and political issues. Because my work isn’t political, I don’t hide secret agendas or messages in my art, I sometimes wonder if I’m a bad American for not using my free speech to try to facilitate change using my art as the vehicle.
It’s an issue I’ve muddled over in my mind quite a lot.
Every morning I have this routine where I come downstairs, make myself a cup of coffee and settle on the couch to watch the morning news while I scroll through my Facebook and Twitter feeds. In hind sight, this may not necessarily be the best way to start the day since any real news that gets aired on TV is rather bleak and my Facebook timeline is full of friends crying out in despair and anger over just about everything going on in the world.
It’s pretty depressing.
After my coffee is finished, and I can’t take anymore ranting or angry posts on social media, I shut everything off and start getting ready to go into the studio to work. My head buzzing with all the different angry voices, my soul hurting, and generally feeling completely helpless and bleak.
Recently I realized that I do use my work as a vehicle to help drive the narrative, it’s not just not a narrative that’s being widely promoted right now.
My narrative is light, and my studio is a bright oasis.
I use my work to create pinpoints of light in the world, because I’m a creature of light and I need it to survive. I come into my studio every morning feeling dark and hopeless and I’m greeted by so many different points of light that I can’t help but to feel uplifted. There are times in the dead of winter when I leave my studio and I’m surprised that the world outside is dark, dreary and cold because I’ve spent so much time in my own brightly lit world.
I take all the darkness I feel and I turn it into creations that are light-hearted, fun, whimsical and bright. I create work that makes me smile when I look at it, which somehow makes everything else feel a little less bleak.
My work makes other people smile too. Throughout my workday, I keep my studio open and welcoming for people to come in and experience the work. And everyday I think people come in just to feel uplifted by what they see and sometimes they like something so much that they buy it and take it home.
If my art can help put a smile on someone’s face, then it’s a small but significant contribution to the world– a small pinprick of light in the darkness. If my art uplifts someone so much that they have to take it home with them, then I’ve done my job well. Because now they have something in their home that can make them smile and uplift them every time they see it as they go about their day.
Like a little nightlight for the soul.
Art doesn’t have to be overtly political to send a message, and the message doesn’t have to be extremely profound.
My message is about light and love. I don’t care where people fall on the political spectrum, I don’t care if we agree or disagree on important issues. I turn darkness into light, and I want to share my light with everyone.