Bob Schwenkler

What It Means to Be an Artist

Written by on December 10, 2016

Posted in: Business

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My art used to be tangible: A recorded piece of music that you could hold in your hand and listen to when you chose. A song that I wrote on my guitar and could record or play for you.

My art expressed itself through and in the form of sounds, 16 track tape machines, slapback echo, vinyl records and CDs, songs, lyrics, and poetry.

I loved my art deeply. I took (and still do take) a lot of pride in what I created.

I don’t create any of that art anymore though. I left the studio, sold my recording equipment, and gave away my guitar.

Occasionally these days I have the thought that I should make more art that people can enjoy, as if it were something that I had ceased to do.

But then I remember that I still do. It’s just different now. It’s just not quite so tangible I suppose.

You can’t hold it in your hand. You can’t play it in your iTunes or CD player. You can’t go online or to the record store and buy it.

You can only witness its outward expressions through my emotional states: The expression of grief, tears, anger, joy, vulnerability, and stillness.

You can witness and experience it through others too, in the expression of those who’s hearts I’ve had the privilege to help open up. You might catch some sense of it in their face and posture, hear the change in the timbre and inflection of their voice, or notice it in the different words they use to express themselves now.

My art is intimacy, connection, healing, and emotion. It’s self awareness. It’s inner peace.

I love my art. It’s the greatest blessing I could have asked for. I’m so grateful for everyone in my life, brief acquaintance or lifelong family member, who co-creates it with me.

I’m still very much an artist, it just doesn’t look like what I typically think of when I hear the word ‘art’.

You’re an artist too. Did you know that?

It might not look like you expect it to either, but the way you can know what it is is by looking at what you’re doing.

It might be surfing Facebook. Smiling at your partner. Cooking food. Raising your children or being a spouse. Being a coach. Or choosing just the right book to read next.

The question isn’t “Am I an artist?”

It’s “What is my art?”

Art is energy expressed.

You’re literally made of energy – electrons spinning around nuclei of atoms. Electrons cause your brain to communicate with itself and the rest of your body. They cause your muscles to contract and release. They cause your body to create outward expressions of the inward state of the thoughts, feelings, experiences, and symphony that you know to be you.

I’m an artist and so are you.

What do YOU express? What’s your art?

  • Perrin Randlette

    Wow Bob- insightful article! These days I am feeling grateful for all of those artists that apply their creativity to the community, their own growth and being present… My art right now is giving hugs and cooking magical miso soup.

    • Perrin, awesome! Your art is so needed!

      Cooking food for others is actually one of my primary ways of showing love and appreciation.

  • Vincent van Agtmaal

    Love it!!! My art is ligthening peoples heart thru dancing humor and just being myself!!!

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