The Art World- From the Outside Looking In.


I am fortunate in my life to be surrounded by people who have a firm grasp on the creative arts.

My brother-in-law is a spectacular singer/songwriter. My wife can play the violin and can turn piles of felt and ribbon into beautiful stuffed toys or pillows that people love to buy.

My father can pick up any instrument with strings, noodle around for a few hours, and teach himself how to play it. Cello, banjo, guitar, he can do it- as well as sight read music.

Even the little community I live and work in is teeming with creative minds. An old resort was recently purchased by the art community who breathed new life into it by turning its buildings into galleries and studios for everyone to enjoy.

The restaurants proudly showcase photographs and paintings from local artists.

People flock to the area, especially this time of year to photograph and paint the foliage that the Catskills has to offer.

Even here- WordPress- The blogging community is awash with people who amaze me every day. There’s one guy who takes the same model airplane kits that I used to ruin with too much glue and the wrong paint as a kid and turns them into showcase pieces. There are other people who can take the exact same words that I know how to use, and spin them into mind-bending poetry or thought provoking wisdom.

…And then there’s me.

I mentioned in my last post that I helped a stranded motorist the other day After we failed to get her car started, I gave her a lift to her destination, and on the way we chatted. She told me she was a painter, and we discussed art for a while. I confessed that I have no creativity whatsoever. My hands and mind were not designed to create.

The woman’s response was beautiful. She shrugged. “We don’t all have the same gifts” she said. “I can paint, you’re a people person. Me, I don’t like people, but you go out of your way to help them. God gave everyone different talents. If we were all the same, nothing would be great.”

I was impressed on two levels. First, by the simple wisdom of what she had to say, but mostly because she didn’t feed me the classic bullshit line of “Everyone’s an artist, you just need to find your niche.”

I’m not joking either when I say I am not creative. In school, when everyone was moving their mediums to ceramics and paints, I was struggling to master crayola. My painting skills never materialized, nor did my sculpting. I was seventeen and still making lopsided coil pots and drawing stick figures.

I can’t even take a photograph without it being fuzzy, out of focus, or otherwise wonky.

Forget music. All of it. I can’t create it or perform it, and have no desire to attempt anymore.

….The thing is though, that I am perfectly comfortable with my lot in the art world.

What is a symphony without an audience? What is an art gallery without patrons? What is a photograph or a painting without an eye to behold it? Or a poem without a reader?

For the longest time I considered myself a non-affiliate of the art world. The more I think about it though, the gifts that all of you have to offer wouldn’t BE gifts if there weren’t people like me who can’t create such things to enjoy them.

This is one of the reasons that WordPress has attracted my attention to thoroughly. The people here post photographs of things that I’ve never seen, or things I HAVE seen in ways that I CAN’T see them. The words that some of you pour out can make me think, laugh….or even cry.

And the outside world too- The photos, music, crafts, paintings, sculptures- that I am surrounded by…All of it captivates me, and I love it.

That lady I gave a lift to the other day has had me thinking about art and artists since then…she MIGHT have been a bit off in labeling me a people person, but nobody’s perfect.

I used to lament my lack of skill in the arts, but no longer. I am content to take my place in the audience, sit back, and appreciate.

So art world, keep doing what you do, and show me what you’ve got.




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