Sometimes I get down. I question why I do this. My inner critic tries to convince me it's pointless. Despite what that inner critic says, I suspect that art impacts each of us in powerful ways. Recently I reached out to the year of creative habits community and asked them to share about a piece of art that has or had a powerful impact on them. Their answers were delightful and I'm going to remind myself of these stories when I'm feeling down.
Suzanne Drake said, "The piece that I immediately thought of was this "pile of bricks" I saw at MOMA a few years back."
"I often doubt if I am good enough in my artistic endeavors, if I should even call myself an artist.... so when I saw this I thought to myself....'This pile of bricks is in MOMA & is considered art. Anything can be art. Stop being so hard on yourself!'"
Julie Katz said "Art that had impact on me: Nanny and Rose, a painting I saw in the Boston Museum of Fine Art when I was in high school. The painting has a photographic quality with its rich detail, and I was drawn to it. And I am not even a dog person."
Dawn Rogal said, "Growing up my parents often took us to the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The biggest draw for me was seeing bananas growing on the tree in the conservatory. The second biggest draw was seeing the "girl in the rocking chair", a life size bronze sculpture. I loved everything about it. It could be me in that chair with my cat. The bronze was cool to the touch and wasn't smooth exactly, it had enough texture to feel real. The third draw was the art. I loved wandering through the galleries. There was always something new."
"For me, the girl in the chair made art accessible. It drew me to the museum, to the galleries. Art became familiar, museums were fun. It's hard to explain."
Beverly Arm Williams told me, "There are so many pieces that have affected me in different ways, but Joan of Arc by Jules Bastien-Lepage was an early one. I first knew the poster--I'm not sure where I saw that. But when I moved to NY (Westchester County) in 1990, I started to go into NYC regularly, and I loved going to the Met, where this piece is."
"I was in my early 20s, wishing I had a different life--I was working as a bank teller, hadn't finished college, and felt like I would never be my dream--a writer. I felt like I had this magical world in my head, but it wasn't "cool"--to childish or naive. I didn't think anything had happened to me, and so I didn't think I had the right to tell the stories I made up. Who cared what a lower-middle-class white girl with no education or experience had to say?
When I saw this painting, I understood something about Joan of Arc, and about myself. I had never really caught on to the heavenly creatures in the painting before. And it occurred to me that it was Joan's belief in what she was "told" and knew and saw and heard that led her to her bravery, led her to do what she was supposed to do. I'm still working on the same confidence, of believing that my stories do matter, and the fantastic elements that swirl in my brain can be made real through my belief. But really seeing that painting in person for the first time is what opened my eyes to the potential..."
Oh my goodness, doesn't that give you goosebumps? It's hard to know how your art will impact others. Just know that it does. In this world, maybe now more than ever, art matters.