Walking the cobblestone streets of Europe for the past two weeks has been magnificent enough to elicit wonder from the most hardened of people, from the most jaded corners of our personalities. While inside Gaudi’s 400-year project, the Segrada Familia, in Barcelona, I witnessed the most straight-laced, buttoned up businessman stand next to the most irritated, short-fused tourist in open-mouthed wonder as they gazed upon the stained glass, the pillars, the interior. While we were in Italy, I watched the strictest of nutrition-conscious athletes from our group dive into troughs of homemade pasta, pizza, sweets, seemingly possessed by the love and artistry imbued within each bite. While island hopping in the Greek Isles, I watched families huddle together in the pouring rain just so they could spend five more minutes walking between the blue-roofed, white-washed buildings atop Santorini’s charming cliffside.
My trip was a cavalcade of appreciation, during which I was struck by the notion that art is the physical expression of emotion. It is how we feel, activated. There has never been a doubt in my mind that artists have always reflected what they, themselves—as well as society, as a whole—have been in the process of experiencing. Art is essential for life; it is a way of reconciling our human gift of consciousness; a way to process this human experience. However, this trip overseas forced me to add an addendum onto that belief. It made me realize that we are ALL artists. We are ALL turning emotions into physical action. Be it an emotion that inspires a new thought, a new thought pattern, a new belief—be it an emotion that inspires a sculpture, a meal, a song, a book, a scientific theorem, a mathematical equation, a business proposition, an invention—we are ALL artists turning how we feel into things we see, touch, taste, smell and hear. We create what we desire from how we feel. Creation—that which is born from our imagination—is the art form of our human life. Which means that we are all artists.
Instead of discounting your inner artistry because you may not happen to “earn your living in a creative field” own the fact that each time you turn your emotions into thoughts, then your thoughts into things, you are creating. Instead of marginalizing your inner artistry by saying, “I’m not an artist, I can’t draw/paint/sing, etc.” own the fact that artistry includes so much more than a narrow definition of the traditional visual media. Own the fact that we have all taken a tiny seedling of an idea, and figured out how to cultivate the soil of our surroundings, nourish with the water of our imagination, and foster it with our intention, our action, into the germination of a brilliant…thing…that can be used, enjoyed by yourself and others.
It is time to embrace our innate creativity—in whatever form it comes—it’s time to own our ability to turn our feelings into our desires; into the things that make our daily lives better. It is time to own that progress requires creation. And creation requires artistry. For, it was Einstein—a scientist—who claimed that “imagination is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” It was a prolific scientist—the quintessential logician—that reminded us brilliantly that we are consummate creators. And that creation itself, born from imagination, from creativity, is the art form of our human existence. We don’t need a trip to Europe to take a moment and appreciate our inventive spirit, the medium through which we each choose to express our feelings, whatever that may be…we just need to take a moment and acknowledge that we are all better for each one of our artistic creations.
We are all better for owning, loving, our inner artist. Our experience on Earth would not be as magnificent as it is without it.
Polo REO Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her Great Great Grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile. Growing up, [...]