in Writing & Publishing

You are an Artist

Everything you do is art.

From the moment you wake up until the moment you sleep, you’re creating art.

Brushing your teeth? Art. Putting on makeup? Art. Getting dressed? Art. Eating breakfast? Art. Kissing a loved one? Art. Driving to work? Art. Doing your work? Absolutely art.

Speaking to a friend? Art. Walking to lunch? Art. Reading email? Art. Writing email? Art. Browsing the web? Art. Daydreaming? Art. Brainstorming? Art.

Every single thing you do is art.

You cannot escape it. Whether you choose to believe it or not is irrelevant. The very fact that you’re human makes you an artist. You have the gift of conscious awareness, the gift of choice, the gift of creativity.

You can spend your entire life denying you’re an artist or you can whip out your paintbrush and start acting like Michelangelo.

Nobody is going to push you to make this choice, but nobody is going to stop you either. It’s entirely up to you.

If you’re feeling incapable of greatness; if you’re feeling unsure of yourself; if you doubt your potential; the paintbrush and the canvas don’t give a damn. They have all the time in the world and they’re not going anywhere.

On the other hand, your paint — your life — is drying out.

You’re an artist. Life is your canvas. One way or another, you’ll be creating your masterpiece until the day you die.

What are you doing with your canvas? Are you gawking at the work of other artists and watching your paint dry or are you painting your life with diligent exuberance and radiant passion?

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    • I think your mother was probably logged in as me and made the comment. She was probably connecting it to something I wrote on Facebook a few weeks ago.

      I too like the post.

      Anyway, here are my comments:

      Life is in ‘deed’ art. When good intentions are translated into good actions, we are bringing out our Essence. That expression is beautiful because it connects our mind (and intelligence) with who we really are. When the mind is connected with who we really are, it means the mind is reflecting what is Real.

      Mind is the reflector (like a mirror), and the reflection in the mirror is clear only if the mirror is clean. When the mind is purified (cleansed of its images) it clearly reflects the Self. The Self is not modified by either the reflector or the reflection.

      By its very own nature, the Self is beautiful, because the Self is intrinsically good. ‘Good’ means beneficial, uplifting, healing, inspiring, edifying. Art is always all of this and much more, but always good for one and all, and never harmful. If it is harmful it is not art, instead it is artificial. ‘Artificial’ is that which is not real.

      Anyone who is becoming better than they were yesterday is benefiting them self and everyone else. That person is an Artist of Life. Their own life is their own Masterpiece, and it can take many lives for it to become complete.

      Our lives become complete when we become completely selfless. It is not a matter of connecting the dots; it is a process of self-discovery by being honest with one’s self, recognizing one’s imperfections (shortcomings), and making the effort to go beyond one’s own small self (ego).

      The Truth unfolds like the petals of flower. The revelation of Truth is art.

      • Thank you for adding to the discussion, Pa!

        That last line says a lot: “The revelation of Truth is art.” By searching for and uncovering truth, we are discovering and painting a picture of who we truly are.

  1. Just because something has a potential artistic element does not make it art.

    So sure there are aesthetically interesting ways of brushing your teeth.. putting on clothes.. but that does not mean that me typing this email to you is.. art.

    Just.. no.

    • Hi Brian, thank you for the comment!

      My point wasn’t that everything can be taken in the literal sense of art (painting, sculpture, drawing, etc.), but rather that everything we do has some element of creativity to it (as in the dictionary definition of art: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination).

      Treating life as a creative work allows us to constantly strive to improve while simultaneously accepting imperfection (no artist is perfect and no piece of art can be perfect).

      If you want to take it in a more literal sense, just think about how many things are involved in your typing a comment to me: all the hundreds of muscles working in sync, getting instructions from your brain at the speed of light, and your brain simultaneously accepting signals from your eyes as you read the result of what you’re typing and accessing your memory to recall the letters necessary to form words into sentences. If that’s not a work of art, I don’t know what is!

      • That’s how your post hit me, Raam. But if someone hasn’t considered this before it might be a bit of a mental jump.

        And it’s not just our ‘life’ that we’re creating, we’re creating US… just like painting is not really about the end product, it’s about the act of creation and how it might balance the creator.

        I guess what I took from your post is something I added on myself ;)

        • And I think adding something yourself is part of the point — to make it “your” piece of art. Our perceptions are always colored by our experiences — by what makes us unique. By sharing such perceptions with others, we’re touching the canvas of existence with our paintbrush.

          What we choose to do, how we choose to do it, who we choose to relate and communicate with — these are all apart of, as you said, creating “US”. As a result of creating “us”, we collaboratively create the world as a whole.

          I think if we see ourselves and our lives as works of art, we will instinctively make better choices based on our values, not procrastinate and waste time being spectators, and not simply watch the lives of others for entertainment while our life slips away.

          Thanks for the comment Ali! :)

      • It’s an interesting point, and I hadn’t quite interpreted your post that way originally.

        Even looking at it that way.. not everything is very creative (at least not in a particularly remarkable way).

        If you subscribe to this – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6926500.stm (That perception of time and how routine your life is are related)

        … then I’d agree certainly life SHOULD be about that – it should be about being as creative as possible.. breaking the mold.. living a richer life.

        That doesn’t change the fact that most people have a lot of dull routine in their life which tends to contract their experiences to except but the most interesting in their memories.

        Which ultimately is why I think “actual” art is so interesting to us.. it provides an insight into something we hadn’t considered. It offers that ‘escape’ from routine.

        So while putting on your clothes can be about expression.. it can be art.. sometimes it’s just a routine part of our day that isn’t memorable whatsoever..

        • I agree that not everything is “very” creative, but it is creative in one way or another. The degree of creativity changes based on our age and experience.

          For a child learning to walk, holding onto a solid object to hold himself up would be considered creative. For an adult, it would be considered commonsense.

          I was pointing out the art in everyday routine things as a way to help recognize that everything we do, routine or not, contributes to the development of who we are.

          I also agree that while life should be about being as creative as possible, many people maintain routine lives without even attempting to be very creative.

          But they’re still creating a piece of art. They’re still painting their lives. It might be a boring, routine painting that isn’t very interesting, but it’s still a piece of art.

          I believe that we should always be conscious of the choices we make, types of people we choose to relate with, relationships we choose to build, and activities we choose to pursue. We should constantly strive to create “beautiful art” — whatever that may mean for us — instead of just copying a routine painting that we see everybody else creating.

          Life should be about exploration. That doesn’t necessarily mean travel, but it should involve personal growth and discovery of some type of (mental, physical, social, etc.) while simultaneously improving the lives of others in some way (through sharing, teaching, helping, etc.).

          Thank you for the comments, Brian. I had not even considered that this post might be misinterpreted and it is really helpful to see another perspective!

  2. :chuckle: @Pa or not Pa and @Raam

    Nicely put. I’m ready to start a new canvas and make some changes on the outcome of the new painting…

    More time with family and friends and enjoying life.

    • Thank you, David!

      I’m happy to hear you’re painting your canvas with more friends and family time — spending time with family is so important to our overall happiness. I’m really looking forward to doing the same when I return to the States in September!

    • Hey Ross, thanks for the link to that speech.

      That reminds me of what Seth Godin said in his book, Linchpin, about people being trained as factory workers. They’re not trained to be creative because factories need factory workers — human machines — not creatives.

      I’m glad that this is slowly changing and that more and more people are embracing their creativity and potential, however we have a long way to go. Hopefully by setting an example, we can encourage further change. I definitely think it starts with education though — the priorities of the school system need to be focused on ingenuity, creativity, collaboration, and solving “new” problems.

  3. Wow. You have no idea how well this mirrors my ideas of a few months ago… I, too, believed in the path of being artistic in everything you do.

    Deep down I still believe in it, but it’s one hell of a challenge. It’s one of the hardest things to do ever. It requires constant vigilance from moment to moment. It demands total, unwavering concentration to the task at hand.

    For that reason, it’s very, very, very difficult. I’ll try picking up the pieces, though, and try my hand at being an artist of life once again.

    • Hey Brett,

      You’re right, it does require constant vigilance from moment to moment and total, unwavering concentration to the task at hand. But that’s what “living in the moment”, “living consciously”, and “being mindful” are all about. They all require continuous effort.

      Living like an artist of life needs to become part of our lifestyle, part of who we are as a person. Just as some people are natural “talkers” and others are natural “listeners”, we can all become natural “artists”. Training ourselves to be mindful and aware of everything we’re doing in the moment takes practice, but the more we do it, the easier and more natural it will become.

  4. Hands down, the most fantastic thing I have read all day and all week and maybe longer! I love your poetic prose, your punch in every phrase, and how you are burning the page here with your message. I am going to Retweet your fab article for others to see…..(And yes while this was not your point, I want to take those art classes SOON!!)

    • Thank you so much, Farnoosh! I’m with you on art classes — that’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time! It may not have been my point, but art is art! :)

  5. Arg… when I look at it that way, I’m the type that makes a nice red swipe on the canvas, second guesses myself, so cover it up to bring it back to a pure white canvas again and stare at it worried I’ll make the wrong color or angle and just stand there staring afraid to make another move.

    What a waste of a perfectly good canvas and gorgeous pallet of colors :(

    • I think you just need to recognize that it’s your canvas! It’s OK if you make a mistake on it or change your mind halfway through. There is no perfect piece of art — it’s all subjective to the viewer. As the artist, you determine what’s beautiful; you determine what makes a masterpiece. :)

  6. A beautiful piece of writing – I liked the way you wrote about life and its comparison to a canvas.Just Awesome…

    Wishing you the best!

    • Thanks so much, Soumya! I’m so happy that you enjoyed this. :) I can’t really take credit for the canvas analogy as I got that from my dad. He told me once when I was younger that, “life is your masterpiece and you’ll be painting it until the day you die.” That really stuck with me.