The eyes of an artist
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” –Michelangelo
What do you see when you look at the world?
You get up every morning. Get dressed. Guzzle down that essential cup of coffee. Climb in your car and battle the morning commute. Spend your day in the office, or wherever it is you work. Fill your obligated time slot. Battle the evening commute. Make and have dinner. Spend time with the spouse or kids or friends. Go to bed. Do it all over again.
Do you ever look at the world you live in?
Many years ago, I attended art school while working a part time morning job as an office assistant. I was beginning to seriously lose my drive, that spark of creativity, the touch of magic that had drawn me to study art in the first place. It was endless drudgery, day after day after day of the same thing. Technical work, daily assignments, filing, xeroxing, labeling, homework, and it was beginning to feel soulless.
One morning, I got off the freeway and set to navigating the streets that would lead me to the building I worked in. It had been raining, and it was early, and autumn or winter in Houston, and the world was awash in myriad shades of indigo and violet, gleaming with luminous golds, refracted light, the pavement mirroring a dazzling wash of color. Everything seemed alive, expectant, breathless with anticipation. As I waited at a stoplight, I couldn’t help but feel as though I had caught a glimpse of a deeper portion of reality, where the colors sing and there is a taste of timeless enchantment in the air. Where reality folds and ripples over itself in layers of being.
I went on to experience many, many wonderful things. I left Houston in 2001 and traveled the US, living a nomadic life as a seasonal resort worker. To see the magic in the world, to view life through the eyes of an artist, a seeker, a poet– these things infuse everything you see with a kind of potent presence, a vitality, a spirit. God is in all things, the mystics say, and I think perhaps, in a symbolic way, I believe that. The divine spark of creation, the same spark that is within us all.
This world exists. We exist. We exist, and that is miraculous.
I think that is a good part of what I try to do with my art, with my writing. I see that magic in the world, and I draw, or paint, or write, until I set it free.