How to Live Like an Artist

Arizona (1950) by Maxfield Parrish

How can someone who doesn’t make art embrace an artist’s perspective on the world? This week’s Ask Polly starts here: “Living like an artist means letting my inner monster out of the closet and letting her get in the way, slow things down, glue up my gears, break everything apart, humble me, strip off my pretensions and defenses, and then, maybe, rebuild me, speed everything up, and make my universe more colorful, exciting, obscene, absurd — whatever it wants to be in that moment.”

Taking on an artist’s view is, for me, a way of believing in and following darkness and joy wherever they lead, with curiosity and an open heart. It’s also a way of believing in who I am and everything I bring to the table — good, bad, ugly, brilliant, wretched, rancid. When I follow the lead of my moods and ideas without shame and create from there, the world becomes a more delicious, lovable, engrossing place. So art isn’t just a hobby or even a practice for me, it’s more like a religion that sustains me when everything else splinters apart.

Today let’s talk about art — creating it, appreciating it, adopting its sharp lens. Of course, that means we also have to talk about fear and insecurity, since art kicks up ALL OF THAT, always and forever. That’s what’s so good about it, once you crawl through that gauntlet on your hands and knees, begging for mercy. Art forces you to face yourself.