Make Good Art

So I’m sitting here on the computer, worn out from the last few days and in the midst of a string of games of Bejeweled (it’s like Candy Crush Saga, but significantly less evil. Still evil, but significantly less) when I think to myself, “This is a giant waste of time. God, what should I be doing with my time?”

What came to mind was a video I’d seen a while back. You may have seen it; it went around the web. It’s an excerpt from a commencement speech by Neil Gaiman. Whatever happens, he advises, make good art.

I do have several art projects that I’ve been pondering, a few lying around partially finished. I should be looking into working on those. That uses a part of my brain that isn’t quite so taxed, I think. But I got to thinking about it differently, too. My mind twisted it in a different direction.

God is the ultimate creator. He is the ultimate artist. Everything he does could be considered art, but what God did in his art was something that we never could manage, at least on such a scale. He invited the art to participate in its own creation. As part of his masterwork (I assume. Who knows, though. Maybe he’s got another side universe out there where he does even more jaw-dropping stuff for his own delight), we were invited to create with him. We were given free will and creativity to create for ourselves.

What this suggests is that we are artists, and we are also art. Our lives are pieces of art in of themselves, and when Gaiman says, “Make good art,” it makes me wonder what kind of art project my own life is. What am I doing to turn my own life, my own self, into good art?

Suddenly Bejeweled doesn’t seem too important. It never was, really, I know. I just needed a reminder. And I’ll need reminders again and again. And it’s not like it’s awful that I play little games here and there anyway so long as they contribute to making good art. That isn’t typically the case, as they’re usually just a time-suck, but they can if they are mini-sabbaths or opportunities to play with God or the like.

So I suppose the question I’m left with is what is good if my life is a canvas, what am I doing to make good art with it?


5 responses

  1. “Mini-Sabbath” is true, if I use it to get back “on track.” Too often, though, I find myself in the time-suck place… My struggle with making good art seems to be whether I am creating for creation sake, or if I’m trying to achieve something – notoriety? fame? accolades?
    Very rarely do I make point of just creating to my Creator because I can.

    Thanks for making me mindful of this. I always – ALWAYS – appreciate your insight. I find your thoughts provoking and encouraging in so many ways.

    Blessing and peace to you.

    September 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    • Thanks, Ty. It can be difficult to figure out if what you’re doing is good, but I suppose that’s part of why the Artist likes us to check in with him regularly. = )

      September 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

  2. This is a wise insight, Matt. And what I like best is that you have added value to Gaiman’s good idea. Also that you have juxtaposed it with the confession of your game playing. I suspect most of us have some guilty secret of time wasting. I’m afraid mine is Facebook trolling. Next time I notice myself sucked down the diversion rabbit hole I’ll remember that it’s a great time to go over to my art desk and make an Etegami. Thanks for writing.

    September 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    • Thank you, Patricia. Now I’ve been finding myself asking that question all day, but I’m realizing I’m so worn out that I almost don’t care. I guess sometimes making good art has to wait until the artist is up for it. Then again, I suppose rest is actually part of the making process, no?

      September 5, 2013 at 9:10 pm

  3. Dave Labate

    It’s the occasional post like this (or the link to it in FB) that get me to check FB once in a while. I really appreciate your insight–it’s a good reminder, sort of like a bearing to point my nose toward.

    September 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm

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