What Makes an Artist?

I struggle with creation. As a writer, there’s always been difficulty when I command myself to put words to page. I prepare my environment, my music, my beverage, even my lifestyle for the perfect setting in which to write…. and nothing. My moments arrive when driving home from work or when engaged in conversation at social gatherings. I’ve learned to take the opportunities when they come, despite the danger and difficulties of writing via paper and pen whilst speeding home, or appearing absent-minded during conversation.  

During some dry-spells I can’t help but doubt myself as a writer, an artist, a creator. I may come across an article entitled “18 things highly creative people do differently” and feel a burning desire to read it - hoping to identify with at least 3 items listed. I hate myself during these times; feeling as though I’ve sold a cherished part of me to something else - sold out as an artist, working a 9-5 and living a cozy, comfortable life.


On vacation this last summer I had the random chance of meeting an artist, and local celebrity of Long Beach, WA. He also happened to be a long lost relative to my fiancé. Talking with him in his shop for hours, he shared a perspective that’s changed the way I view myself as a writer. I wish I had written it down immediately, but this is how I recall his words:


Art is really just an expression of an artist, and so each of our lives is that expression. The things we surround ourselves with are in themselves, art. The movies you keep on a shelf in your living room, the music you listen to, the color of walls in your house – this is all an expression of you and therefore, art.


Rather than focus on my lack of words on the page, I should perhaps devote more energy to capturing the art in everyday life. Capturing it and sharing it with anyone who may notice. Art is everywhere; we need only to alter our perception of it.

Lukas Robertson