We are all artists.
That was the bold claim I made in my first Art Room Parables column. I’ll admit, I didn’t offer any explanation up front, and maybe you don’t believe me. I think I even may have bristled a few people with that claim.
“But I’m not creative…” you say.
“I can’t draw a straight line.”
“I like math.”
“I’m a left-brained, type ‘A’ personality.”
“Artists are weird and fruity.”
“Science geeks are boring. They aren’t artists.”
It wasn’t a typo. I really meant it, even for all the left-brained, type A, non-creative people, the moms, dads, students, scientists, mathematicians, ditch-diggers and pencil pushers. So let me explain why you, yes you, are in some way, an artist.
Boys Don’t Draw
Last year, I went on a mission trip to Mexico with a bunch of strangers. Our time was divided between manual work and children’s ministry and outreach in the community. On the first evening, we had a conversation to see what strengths and talents each of us had. Where would we best fit in? What could we offer the group? What could we do to make the children’s outreach really great?
Some people were good at leading songs. A few people, handily enough, spoke Spanish. Some people preferred to lead Bible lessons. I told them that I could lead art time (partly because I will do anything to escape doing songs or puppets). It would be simple, with very few supplies available.
“Boys don’t draw.”
What? Did that guy I just meet a few hours ago really just say that to me? Boys don’t draw? Suddenly, I wondered who had made all that art I had seen in those museums. Over the course of the trip, this guy wouldn’t play card games with us in the evenings, and really only wanted to talk very seriously about the Bible, in hushed voices. Maybe he didn’t draw, and he wasn’t encouraging his boy to draw, but boys do draw, and having my masculinity insulted to my face, I suddenly felt inspired to draw on his face…with my fist.
The Art of Living
I get it. Most people aren’t actually artists.
Some people even think drawing is somehow feminine.
But despite that, what I mean by calling us all artists has nothing to do with whether or not you have ever seriously picked up a paintbrush, or consider yourself “creative.”
You are “creative” because you create things.
Just look at your life. You created it! All of it was created in one way or another. It didn’t just spontaneously happen. Every day of your life, you’ve done a little painting or chiseling here or there. You’ve refined and polished your life a little more each day…
…or else you haven’t. Maybe there are areas of your life that you’ve been neglecting for a while. They don’t look quite finished. Maybe they look kind of sloppy, and clash with the polished, refined parts of your life.
See what I mean? This column isn’t about art. It’s not just for artists. This column is a parable, a metaphor for life. It’s not about fine art, but the fine art of living. Sure, science and math are probably also suitable metaphors for life. Jesus used parables about agriculture, business, and something that everyone has apparently related to for over 2,000 years: lousy contractors. (Who builds a house on sand?) But I’m not a scientist or a mathematician.
What Are You Creating?
So, in fact, the question is not are we creating…
…but what are we creating?
Are we creating on purpose?
And are our creations any good?
Last time, I asked you if you actually considered yourself an artist. Most of you said “no.” So today, I’m not even going to ask if you are artists. I want to ask you what you are creating today.