What is art?

What is art to me? Something that takes away my breath. Literally. When I find myself holding it, paying attention to the modulation of my breathing, to allow for precise maneuvers with my body, I find peace. The world fades away from my senses, I become absorbed in the moment, the creation of something beautiful, and the goal of finishing.

Finishing something has always been a challenge to me. I love to do something new. Many of my art pieces are first tries. I love to tackle something foreign, a new material, something requiring a new tool, or a new source for reclaimed materials. I’ve made lists of my lists, I have dreams that fold inside of other dreams, and I fail to accomplish them all forever. Finishing is a challenge to me because it defines my skills. If it’s not done, I can fall back on judging it as incomplete instead of incompetent. Or maybe I’m a perfectionist. I’m meticulous and I have an eye for detail. One of my mentors told me something I hold onto.  He said, ″the difference between a craftsman and a novice is knowing what’s good enough.″ So I’ve gotten into the habit of signing the worst spot on any building project, the spot I know another craftsman will fix in another hundred years, either with a new coat of paint, or by replacing it with new wood. I want them to know that yes, I made the rest of it, and yes, I felt that piece wasn’t good enough. It allows me to let go, and accept the finished project.

Art is a passage of time in pursuing the completion of something beautiful. Like destroying a couch that’s had its last day in the sun. I remember the last one clearly. It took about a minute and a half with my boots, kicking, hitting, and jumping on it to transform it back into materials. On that note, destroying art has always been fascinating to me. At times I make card castles in my home, waiting for the moment when the childlike spirit comes out of a guest, and they destroy it for me. My favorite toys as a kid still sit in my shop, waiting to be used. We had these dominoes. Big ones. I measured them to see if they were made with the magic ratio. Legos too. Funny to me the idea of a magic rectangle size. It’s true to me though. No wonder I loved stacking the dominoes to the ceiling, making a loud crashing sound when I ran through the towers, or balanced them out of reach.

At times when in the middle of a kiss and my mind is interrupted by a thought, I recognize the need to focus, I close my eyes, think about nothing but the kiss or the next step in making the moment feel even better, and it becomes art. I’m doing that right now, focusing on this writing, and thinking about kissing Ash made it feel even better. It’s very primal, this art thing. Look at the way a tiger hunts. That’s true art in motion. Focus that will make your skin crawl. I’ve felt that, and I love it.

I read a book one time called the art of conversation, not that I needed to, I get by well enough with my charms, but how do you make a conversation an art naturally? Well intuition and mood play a part. When I’m happiest, I’m charismatic, which makes the art of conversation a reality for me. This I value deeply. The ability to help somebody laugh, enjoy the moment, become satisfied with themselves, with life, and with their dreams. I gain wonderment when the moment is clear that I’m effecting their emotions, by mesmerizing them with words meant to heal them. It’s a balancing act, a dance of mind that entrances both friends with love. The accomplishment of this art makes me feel whole and human. I see it as a combination of intention, action, and result. Pure conscious manipulation of a conversation where all of the goals are the same and everybody benefits. We all do it when we’re having fun, when we’re satisfied, we do it on a primal level, with thoughts and actions built on love. Now I’m feeling defensive, explaining myself, trying to make it okay. It’s funny how that works. I’m aware that some of my audience is probably nervous now that I’ve been honest about the way I communicate when I’m feeling good.  Recognition of this potential feeling for my readers is what leads me to write about it. There is very little in life that excites me more than vulnerability. With great caution I proceed with this line of thought.  Having a clean moral compass is what makes it okay for me. Again the harmony of intention, action, and result.  If the goals are regenerative, I like to play with art in mind.

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