The Arts and Life

My cousin Dan reminded me in an email how unique we are in our family.  Most of our cousins went on to medical school, or engineering, but we, the few, have always shown interest in the arts.   Dan has made his life a passionate pursuit of music.  Its funny when i think back to our youth i remember how playing instruments was so vital to who he was as a kid.  And i remember falling in love with fine art when i was 4 or 5. Other kids begged their parents to take them to amusement parks or the zoo – i remember begging them to take me to the Cleveland Museum of Art.  And i remember standing there looking at works of art and wondering how that happens… how that miracle of taking what is a thought in your mind and translating it to paint on canvas.  The use of light, or the meticulous brush strokes fascinated me.

Art always impressed me.  From the oil paintings to sculpture, old masters to post modernity – it all thrilled me.  One of my first memories of interacting with art was when I stood and watched a portrait  character summer artist at Cedar Point drawing profile portraits in pastels.. fast, a few whisps of pastel scribbled across the paper and there it was, a likeness suitable for framing.  I remember going home and grabbing colored chalk and trying to do that too.  Of course a 5 year old’s hand does not compare.

To encourage the Arts my parents involved me in music lessons (yes, 12 years of violin!!!), Russian folk dancing, and selected other classes like acrylic and watercolor painting.   Art thrived in my young heart.  It was something I knew with time and practice would grow and blossom.  And for me it was amazing to transfer what was in my head through my hands into something created, unique, my very own.  I love that, and still find it a thrill to finish something and wonder at how it worked out.

As i mentioned to my cousin, I wonder often what life would have been like if I went with my heart at a young age, avoided the years of being a corporate worker bee, with roles that very seldom beckoned my creativity to emerge.  Would life have been more satisfying, or uniquely more challenging as a full time artist?

Life has a way of bringing us back to those places we found shelter in, those places where we felt most grounded.  And life has returned me to the dream of art as a career.  And I am just loving the opportunity.  Truthfully it is challenging to find my way into the market, but when I find the market my silk sells well.  And the biggest thrill for me is when someone connects with my work, resonates with it, loves it.  It is like small affirmations that art is a good thing in my life.

All that said, I found an amazing study done by the National Endowment for the Arts that looked at what percentage of the US population is involved in artistic work.  It is a few years old, but the details are amazing, and well worth the read.  It is also very affirming to know that the arts are clearly part of life, impacting a good percentage of our population.

Here is the article (click the photo below)


I would be remissed if I did not call your attention to one fact that jumped out at me when i read this report: