When I was a young lad, I was always encouraged to be creative in one way or another. I have fond memories of sitting with my Poppa in the spare room at his house, painting with watercolours, copying landscapes from books or photos he'd taken whilst on holidays. Or being allowed to overrun half of the living room at home with my Lego, building all kinds of weird and wonderful things from my imagination.
(I even came second place in a Lego building competition once. I had to design a getaway vehicle for a secret agent, so I came up with this crazy speedboat that looked mean as hell!)
Later on, through school and then college, I was still excersizing my creative side with more and more new and interesting things. I dabbled in screen printing, block printing, textiles, photography, graphic design...I think at one point I even built a full sized coffin for whatever reason; I don't know (It was college, I was going through a huge alternative phase, it seemed like a good idea at the time I'm sure)
That being said, through a chain of events, and random circumstance, I stopped drawing and painting, the Lego went up into the loft and the only time I needed to take advantage of my textile skills was to sew the odd patch onto my denim jacket. I let 'life' take over, and I slowly lost the skills and forgot about the enjoyment of producing something from nothing with just a piece of paper and some paint. It was, however, still inside me; this need to make things, to just let loose and come up with something...anything.
I tried on many occasions to reignite that spark inside. I'd go and buy a nice sketch book and some pens, and I'd try sketching all manner of random things. I won't lie, I sucked, and I knew it...but my biggest problem was not having the patience to push through and re-learn. In my head I could still draw like I did when I was getting top marks at school and college, but I just couldn't translate that onto paper. So I gave up, again and again.
Then I found framing.
That spark I'd been looking to reignite suddenly flared back up and the passion came flooding back. I discovered a massively diverse and totally brand new (to me) view point on art, because the people who were coming to the place I started my framing career, were bringing all kinds of things. Original art, contemporary prints, favourite sports jerseys, bottle caps for Pete’s sake!
But not only that, the framing itself, I came to realise, was an extension of the art itself, whatever it was.
It was our job, to frame the pieces in a way that wouldn't over power or detract in any way. We had to highlight, compliment, and draw people into the piece.
I guess what I'm saying is, whatever you do that allows you to create something from nothing; whatever you do that makes you feel accomplished at the end, that makes you want to do it again and again. Then step back after minutes, hours days or months, with a finished piece and say, 'look at what I made’ - That’s art.
You don't have to 'get it'. It doesn't have to be traditional like a landscape painting, or a figurative sculpture. It could be the most complicated thing in the world. It could be the easiest thing in the world. If it's original and YOU created it, it's art!
As one of my heroes put's it...
"Anyone can paint. There’s no such thing as mistakes, only happy accidents" - Bob Ross.
(For those of you who don't know who Bob Ross is, check out this video from his massively popular TV series that went on for about 30 odd series. And if painting isn't your thing, just listen to this gently spoken man and you'll feel amazing, I guarantee it!)