One of the unfortunate byproducts of working in the arts is that we can occasionally become immune to the beauty and wonder of art itself. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If you’re surrounded by something on a daily basis and you’re not actively paying attention to how you’re engaging with it, there’s a definite possibility that you’ll take that thing for granted. When it comes to the important things in our lives, we usually make an effort to ensure that we don’t become passive — our relationships, jobs, and health are prime examples.
But, what about art? When was the last time you thought about your connection to art? I’m not talking about your art, or your craft. This isn’t about your relationship to your acting or writing or whatever your discipline is; it’s about your relationship to art itself (in the broadest sense of the word — high-brow, low-brow, any-brow…if you want to call it entertainment, that’s fine by me). As artists, this is really about going back to the source — drinking from the spring — because it’s why you got into this game in the first place, isn’t it? You felt a connection to something…a love…maybe even a calling. Whatever it was, you can probably recall the specifics of a certain movie, book, play, art exhibit, album, photograph, musical, etc., that sent chills up your spine and made you long to be a part of the creative experience. In fact, most of us can probably recall numerous experiences like that throughout the years…moments of magic where time almost stood still and we felt like we were intangibly connected to something “other” that we couldn’t exactly put into words. Moments of transcendence.
The truth is that the arts and entertainment business isn’t poetic. It is, after all, a business. And while the aims of your efforts are often emotionally moving (whether touching or thought-provoking, funny or unnerving), the daily immersion and often-grinding pace can dull your sensitivity to the very thing that once inspired you. We spend a lot of time these days taking care of ourselves in numerous ways — yoga, exercise classes, meditation, vacations, therapy, healthy diets, etc. — but when was the last time you made a concerted effort to tend to your connection to art? To stoke the fires of your artistic passion?
What I’m talking about here is deliberate engagement with whatever it is that resonates with you at your core; actually setting aside time in your schedule to let everything else go (that’s right: turn off your phones, take a timeout from Facebook and Twitter, and give this your undivided attention). If you can only afford a couple of hours, then do it. If you can devote half a day, a whole day, even an entire weekend, then give it a try. Go to galleries. Watch movie after movie. Listen to albums and check out shows. Find poetry readings. Check out dance and opera companies. Read an entire novel in two days. Whatever it is, don’t half-ass it — immerse yourself, reconnect, renew your passion.
In fact, I challenge you to make this a priority. And I would love for you to come back here and tell us what you did; your ideas can serve as inspiration to others who need a little push. Of course, I’m going to walk the walk and do it myself — in fact, I’m actually excited by the prospect and I hope this excites you, too. So, get out there, engage with art, and let us know how it goes.