Steps to Creating Authentic Art

This post is especially for those who doubt their own creative potential. I’ve been there too.

The Artist You Already Are

Dr. Mike Bechtle, a communication expert and author of five books, wrote on his blog about a little test he would conduct on groups of adults and groups of children: He would draw a dot on a chart and ask, “What did I just draw?”

After conducting the test 300 times over the course of his long career, the replies were consistent and predictable:

The adults would answer, “A dot.”

But the kids would always imagine the dot being anything other than a dot, like a ball.

Kids see possibilities and impossibilities. And they see these things shamelessly, with bravery. Unfortunately, kids end up forgetting how to be shameless and brave because the pressures to fit in become too overwhelming.

Mediocrity sets in.

Life exists to express itself. Expression makes living worthwhile. And the sophisticated level of expression that has evolved in us humans makes being alive that much more of a passionate, worthwhile experience.

We are born to create. And we do create…until society suppresses our natural ability to dig into ourselves.

When we dig, there is gold to find. Some of us have to dig deeper than others to find that gold, and that’s okay. We are all on our own journeys.

However, the world cannot see, taste, smell, feel, or hear our gold until we create something out of it. That is the only way others can experience a taste of our perception of the human condition.

Our perception is always worth sharing.

The existence of “the gold” I write about is not a matter of debate. I’ve heard many people say that they can’t [insert creative skill here], as much as they want to. These people had to be creative at some point, because they were kids at some point. They just “grew up” and left their imaginative inner child behind.

In his Ted talk titled “Be an Artist, Right Now!”, Young-ha Kim argues that adults should nurture the creativity that children display, rather than suppress it.
For instance, he says that instead of questioning our child’s morals the first time they lie, we should celebrate their newfound storytelling skills.

That’s a fresh perspective for sure.

Setting Up For Success

Everyone has the potential to be creative, whether it’s through illustrating, cooking, interior design, knitting, dancing, whatever. If you want to hone in on your creativity but don’t know where to start, think back to what you liked to do as a child. There is a lot of valuable information there if you look real close.

I personally feel so damn good after I complete my creative projects, even projects that I’m not satisfied with. I’ve learned recently how crucial it is to stop thinking about creating, and to just go create already. Start. The thinking stage can last forever if you let it.

In the Ted talk I mentioned, Young-ha Kim says, “Let’s be artists right now. Right away. How? Just do it.

Remember that creating and thinking are two different processes and should not be attempted at the same time. 


The 3 Requirements of Authentic Creation

The three most important goals to reach before the creation of authentic art may be possible:

  1. Know thyself. What is your unique experience and perspective?
  2. Know thy inspiration. What makes you excited to be alive?
  3. Give no fucks. Who said anything you make needs to be shown to others?

Authentic art comes from a place of deep self-knowing.
But that authenticity cannot manifest into the greatness it is if we are doubting our perspectives and our self-expression.

Everyone has the potential to be an artist because humans by nature have an innate need to create things and express themselves.

The cessation of creation is the cessation of spirit.

Think about how the people we admire most are artists. And let’s even take athletes, for example: Successful athletes are fiercely praised in our culture. Are athletes artists? Of course. Athletes express themselves in a physical, competitive form.

Michael Jordan’s expression through basketball has been described as “poetry in motion.”

Stop telling yourself that you aren’t creative enough to do whatever it is and just do it already.

You will likely judge your work and yourself. But that is an opportunity to practice nonjudgement and nonattachment to outcomes.

Then, create again and again and again.

I hope you become the creator you have always wanted to be.

With love and gratitude,

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Recommended reading:
“Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative” by Austin Kleon

Tell me: What’s your creative story?

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