Life Is Art

by Belinda Munoz on October 29, 2009

paint palette

Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets. ~Oscar Wilde quotes

If there’s one thing I’m grateful for in my recent revelations about life, it is my belief that life is art.  Thanks to a few family members and mentors, I’ve come to this realization that has so far surpassed all other analogies.  It certainly beats “life is a battle”, “life is a game” or “life’s a b*tch”.

Life is art.  How does this little statement sit with you?  Think about it for a minute with no judgment…

For me, there’s something about the fall season that brings this sentiment home.  The artsy-craftsy side of me begins to stir.  The part of me that wants to pick up a paintbrush and express myself on canvas, or make homemade films, or bake a bright yellow lemon tart awakens with excitement.  I wonder if you’ve experienced this.  Is it the scent and crackle of fallen leaves?  Is it the crisp, holiday atmosphere that promises warmth and good cheer?  Or maybe it’s the women, men, children and babies bedecked in earth-tones of chic fashion statements?

Whatever it is, I like it.  I like how it infuses me with a renewed sense of possibilities about myself as a creator, as a maker, as a producer.  It fills me with reassurance and a can-do attitude that, with a little effort and time, and a dollop of inspiration, I can paint a colorful picture, knit a warm sweater or capture a tender moment in a photograph.

LIFE AS ART IN THE KITCHEN

Let’s take cooking as an example.  We all know there are fine chefs around the world who create edible artistry many of us can’t resist.  In our own kitchens, we have the same capability whether or not we acknowledge it.

When we work in the kitchen, we have our tools handy, we have our ingredients ready, and we generally have an idea of what we’ll be cooking.

Much as we do in life, in the kitchen, we make adjustments.  Run out of cumin?  Ask your neighbor for some.  Cilantro all dried up?  Substitute.  Soup too thick?  Add water and let simmer.  Wanna give your dish an extra kick?  Add a special spice and voila!  You have a secret recipe to pass on to the next generation.

Whether we like it or not, sometimes, our souffles will fall flat.  Other times, we might burn our hands or our fingers or our tongue.  Yet more often than not, with a little heat, a little salt, a little stirring, a little love, we can turn a simple meal into a memorable feast when shared with loved ones.

If life is like cooking, what is your special ingredient that gives it that extra flavor?

LIFE AS A NOVEL

As we write each page and each chapter of our lives, we introduce characters and events that help enrich our story.  Some characters are colorful, some are challenging, others are heroic, but they all add richness to our lives just the same.  Some events we experience are unexpected or even unwelcome, while others are much-anticipated, celebratory and momentous.

And yet there are times when page after page, nothing seems to happen…no interesting character appears, no important date looms on the horizon, not even a typo jumps out at the reader.  Boring.  Uneventful.  We wish we had a different book.

If this is ever the case, it might be wise to drop our pens, pick up our spirits and just be.  Just like in life, every great writer knows you have to take a hiatus once in a while.

If you’re in the midst of living your novel, what makes your plot thicken?  If life is a novel, what story are you telling and to whom would you like to tell it?  Are you a mystery?  Sci-fi?  Romance?

LIFE AS A DANCE

If life is a dance, do you salsa or merengue?  Or perhaps you crump or waltz?

Like all other art forms, dance as an expression can be intimidating to a novice.  Professional dancers have a way of making every lift, kick and step look graceful, light and effortless.  Yet we only have to attempt to do a mid-air split once and we quickly learn that our hip action, our alignment and our balance can’t be faked no matter how well we fabricate our confidence.

Add music to every movement and it starts to feel less syncopated and flow more freely.  Add a partner (or more) and the chemistry becomes ever richer, fuller, more intriguing.

Yet, even seasoned dancers bruise themselves when they miss a step.  Other times, they break a bone or an ankle.  But, much like in life, most wounds heal in due time and the injured dancer will re-emerge, perhaps even better than before.

CRITICS

If you have no critics you’ll likely have no success.
~Malcolm X

As every artist knows, no good art will not be criticized.  Same with life.  Create something controversial, you’ll be criticized.  Make avant garde music, you’ll be criticized.  Innovate, you’ll be criticized.  Do nothing, you’ll be criticized.

I highly doubt that we’ll ever live in a critic-less world, so why not make art that compels us from within?  Why not cast aside some rules every now and then and experiment a little or a lot?  Why not create what we create and let critics praise or criticize as they please?

LIFE IS ART

Life is art.  Art is hard work.  Life is hard work.  But with a little effort, a little time, a little willingness, in life and in art, there’s plenty of room for flashes of brilliance.

In art, as in life, there are egos.  In art, as in life, there’s an endless opportunity for collaboration.  As we all know, art is best shared with others.  Much like life.  There may be bumps, burns, or broken limbs, but with a bit of cooperation, the synergy from working together, making art together, could result in a masterpiece.

Shall we give it a try?

YOUR ARTISTRY

If life is art, what is your medium?  What is your message?  What is your muse?

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. ~Thomas Merton

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jai Kai - SharingSuccess.TV October 29, 2009 at 7:55 am

Every creation that we do can be looked at as a form of art. I always find that by experimenting and trying new things gives me a new and fresh perspective as an artist.
My current passion right now is the art of creating a documentary. Aaaah, so much fun.

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2 Ideas With A Kick October 29, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Yeah, I started thinking like this ever since I stared taking salsa lessons. I’m usually pretty left-brained so I would rather see life as a plan or a science. But art makes a lot of sense and sounds more fun 🙂

Eduard

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3 Patty - Why Not Start Now? October 29, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Hi Belinda – Lots to ponder here. I agree with you 100%, but had never thought to specifically name my medium, message, and muse. I could say writing or singing or storytelling, but I get something larger from your post. Something grander than just the art form I practice. What is that quote? The whole is greater than the sum of its parts? So maybe my medium is all the days, hours, months, and years of life itself; my message is depth and meaning; my muse is creativity, imagination, nature, and community. I like the way that rolls off my tongue!

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4 Ben Leon Guerrero October 29, 2009 at 8:52 pm

May I be presumptuous and say that YOU are my muse right now Belinda? Because you make my mind take flights to new regions, sometimes to places I have not visited in a long while.

I have never thought of life as a work of art, that is a new thing for me to ponder. But I like how you allow for error and messing up, that is part of the artwork, sometimes it will not be perfect or go by the plan.

My people are an artistic people, dancing and singing and the visual arts too, one of us is even a Pulitzer Prize winner. I have never thought I had a talent like that but maybe the way I live my life is my talent, that is beautiful, and iinspiring.

Thanks once again,

Ben

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5 Fr. Michael October 30, 2009 at 8:37 am

I like the analogy of life as art. As “works of art,” we contribute to the beauty of creation in our own unique way. Like a mosaic, each of us is important part of creation.

I also like to look at life as a gift. Simple, but true.

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6 Liberty October 30, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Yes, I would like to look at life as an art…the way you’ve explained it.

I would also like to see it as a series of subjects. Like I have to study…learn and eventually will be graded :-). The struggles may not be one of my favorite subjects…but after I survived them….I know that I passed. The happy events are my favorite subjects…feels like I’ve aced them.

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7 Malo October 30, 2009 at 8:38 pm

Life as an art….

I would like to think of it as a painting in a canvas…it’s a work in progress, and until we’ve breathed our last, we have the power to change it and improve it. Our daily experiences, are the dark and bright colors that together, contribute to the beauty of the final piece.

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8 Belinda Munoz November 2, 2009 at 12:19 am

@everyone, thanks for all the great comments!

@Jai Kai, I hope you’ll post one of your documentaries on your blog. I’d be interested to watch.

@Eduard, I have found this analogy to be a lot of fun, too. It’s a great way to distance myself from the not-so-good parts of the day and only focus on the highlights or anything I need to work on.

@Patty, all of it sounds great and the muse you list is inspiring!

@Ben, many thanks for the generous compliment. I am honored to have you as a reader.

@Fr. Michael — beautiful. And yes, a gift — what a lift we would all get each day if this were our first thought upon rising.

@Liberty, interesting perspective and I kinda like it. Except for the grading part 🙂

@Malo, you said that so eloquently that I’m able to picture this work of art of yours.

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9 Positively Present November 2, 2009 at 8:34 am

Wow. I really, really loved this post. So beautifully said and so true!

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10 Belinda Munoz November 2, 2009 at 9:59 am

Dani, many thanks for reading and for your support.

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11 Baker December 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

Excellent blog post here. I always considered the many aspects of life you mention here as art. I like your writing style, it’s clear and concise.

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12 Lance January 9, 2010 at 5:40 am

Belinda,
What a wonderful message! Life IS art!

Last night, my wife and I were out dancing. It wasn’t necessarily always graceful, but it was still art – our art. Just like life – it may not always be the most beautiful creation, and we may have to start over – and that’s all okay.

Keep living that artist within you…

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13 Sara January 11, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Belinda — I came to this post from 101 Things Worth More Than Your Bank Account and I really pleased that I did.

I love how you break things down in your posts and used art, writing, dancing as metaphors for our lives and how we live them.

In answer to your questions, my medium in both writing and photography and I am definitely a storyteller.

I have a wonderful and crazy muse called Izzy. She challenges me all the time with with her diverse ideas for my site. I keep telling her we need to find a theme and stick with it, but she likes variety and so you never know what you’ll get at my site:~)

I really do like the way you write. Thanks!

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14 Melissa Kirk January 14, 2010 at 10:50 am

As I said in my comments on your post about 101 things, I love the concept of life as art. I’d paint it even broader (pun intended 🙂 than life is about DOING art or creative things – life itself is art. For me, how I present myself, what I wear, how I adorn myself, the things I do and say, the way I conducts the dance of my life, the way I choose to look out of my eyes at any given moment, I also see as art. Sometimes it feels more like a rough draft, or a canvas to be painted over, but as everyone knows, you can’t have a beautiful painting without lots of other not-as-beautiful paintings that teach us the nuances of the art form. Creative acts are always important, but if we see our lives themselves as an art form, it opens up the definition of art. Thanks so much for this post!

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15 Mark September 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Belinda, I really like the idea of “Life Is Art” when considering that our very existence is the result out God’s creative hand. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are God’s masterpiece created anew in Christ Jesus. So, our very lives are a work of art and since we have been created in our Creator’s image according to Genesis 1, we all have a creative spirit as a part of our nature.

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