“The Point of Being An Artist Is That You May Live…”

This profound quote was from Sherwood Anderson who was an American novelist and short story writer. He wrote this piece of advice for his teenage son John (who went on to study painting in Paris) in 1927 and eventually the letter was included in Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children.

 

Other perceptive quotes he wrote include “The thing of course is to make yourself alive. Most people remain all of their lives in a stupor.” And “The object of art is not to make salable pictures. It is to save yourself.

Very acute and deep and what does this mean and does it apply to today?

Being an artist, musician, writer, dancer, any of the expressive gifts are a visible reflection of deep thoughts, feelings, desires, beliefs and they are a gift.

Everyone, I believe, has something inside themselves that can be expressed through a healthy creative outlet. Your own personal treasure is to discover your creative gift and nurture it.

So why take the time to tap into your inner creative person? The transformative effects are not entirely rational. However studies have shown that individuals take their obsession, grief, pain and hope and try to turn it into something. This ‘making’ may not result in a cure but it is ultimately healing.

Take a look at 110 year old Alice Herz-Sommer – the world’s oldest pianist and holocaust survivor.

Her beautiful music has brought a peace, beauty and healing to her painful experiences.

The arts reduce stress. And the more in touch a person becomes through creative expression the more wholeness they experience. Strange as it may seem, it’s true.

This inspirational video, “Can Art Be Medicine” from the Foundation For Art & Healing, explores the topic of the arts and wholeness.

The arts have always had a place in cultures around the world and is an ‘unofficial’ form of medicine. Creative expression has an undeniable power and quite possibly can improve our health. Creative engagement brings us into the moment and puts us in touch with who we are, it helps us get unstuck and it helps us move forward. Art can bridge the gap between the conscious and the unconscious mind.

Incredibly, art therapy can help Dementia patients not only find an inner peace but can also stimulate locked away and forgotten memories. I remember better when I paint is a moving video that follows one story of an elderly man who when asked to draw Honolulu, drew a warship with “Destroyer” on its bow. He was drawing a very clear memory he had from his days serving our country. A memory that painting had unlocked. Other amazing stories and studies are also shown on this video below.

So what is the point of being an artist or finding the artist within yourself? The point is to live – live more aware, express yourself, nurture your spirit through the things you make! Creativity and expression can be a powerful gift in your life.

Do you have a story you want to share with us? Has art, music or writing helped you?

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