Yo, my loves. I'm starting a series of guest blog posts written by the wonderful members of my team—the very people who are helping TUBE happen.
Please welcome Lilith Matilda Gearhart—artist, activist, advocate, hippie, and the Shipping Goddess who helps ship your books, and the Support Goddess whom you've seen reply to your emails.
ARE YOU A CREATIVE OR A MULTI-CREATIVE?
You might not know who I am, but I know who you are. Aside from being avid organ donors to a Russian with an addiction to the written word, you are also (in your own mad ways) addicts as well. We all are. We are addicted to writing and reading, but we are also very simply addicted to creation. For some, creating is something that can be put into one category or medium. These people are creatives. For those of us who perhaps find it impossible to express ourselves in only one medium we get to be known as multi-creatives. We are basically the same, but instead of being in competition with one another, we can learn from each other.
One of the most overwhelming aspects of being a multi-creative is managing to stay true to each facet of your art and expression without draining yourself of every drop of sanity you possess. I envy those who can simply write, or paint, or dance, who can dedicate their life to one form of art and can successfully shove into the world all of the buzzing energy that exists within a creative type. I am not one of those people. How does one balance all of the creative endeavors that spill into their mind? How do you learn from someone who specializes in one art form how to be multi-creative?
Vincent Van Gogh was an artist who saw the beauty in the most mundane of things. While he was focused on the medium of paint, he can teach us as multi-creatives an incredible lesson about our art: how to give ourselves over to it. He saw inspiration in every moment of every day of his life. He took what he saw and translated it into something the rest of us could understand. We have understood his art for a very long time now, but that is not why he created it. If you are a creative, you understand why he created it. He had to. It was a part of him that consumed him entirely and prevented him from rest until it escaped him. You know exactly what that feels like.
This does not answer the initial question of how to be multi-creative, but it provides insight into why you are. You see things in ways some do not. You have within you the drive to push those things out of you and into the world. It is a vulnerable and at times painful part of you. It is likely that this part of you is very difficult to share. Set that aside. When you live in fear of ridicule, you close doors. Do not limit yourself to a room full of closed doors. That is the first step. Accept your art entirely and only for you. Create only for you. Do not let your mind concern itself with what others may view. Do not seek validation. Of course, you can accept it when offered (there is no reason to be rude), but do not seek it out.
Before we proceed: no. Publication is not the seeking out of validation. Publication is the sharing of this vulnerable part of yourself with others who may gain something from it. At the time of his death, Van Gogh had over 800 paintings in his possession, having created more than 2,000 in total. He had an incredible collection of art that he could not even give away, let alone sell. Stand in front of one of his paintings and ask yourself what good would have come from his work being kept silent, hidden from the public eye? No good would have come. No bad either, but certainly no good. Now, replicas of his work hang in homes all over the world. I have a large framed copy of his Diner Scene in my kitchen, and sometimes I stand transfixed before it for ages. His life, his work, his story—they propel me forward. Van Gogh did not seek validation. He did not bother to ask if his paintings were good. He just painted them and worked feverishly to share them.
But he created one art. He painted. What if he was a writer, too? A dancer? An actor? How could such an overwhelming collection of work have been completed had he not dedicated his life to one medium? He only painted for ten years. The man considered by so many artists everywhere to be singularly the most significant contributor to the field of art in all of history, and he accomplished that in ten years.
In ten years, Matthew Gray Gubler did more. Perhaps not as notable…he will never be Vincent Van Gogh, but he is an example of a multi-creative who has found a way to balance his art. This is an ironic comparison to make as I write this while I sit looking over Las Vegas, Nevada. The wheels of my plane touch down in his hometown as I consider all the ways I admire this man as a multi-creative. What can we learn from him?
Most recognizable for his role as Spencer Reid on the show Criminal Minds, Matthew also writes, directs, paints, dances, and is remarkably entertaining all on his own without a medium. It may seem easy, with money and notoriety, to invest in every medium in which you have interest, but take a step back and consider what art is. Not many in this life get to be full-time artists, but we can find art in the tiniest of moments. This is what we learn from Vincent and from Matthew. I work as a supervisor in the housekeeping department of a hotel, and I see art in the way the glasses on the bathroom counter are lined up, and in the views I have access to from the downtown Seattle highrise. Take a moment to consider what seemingly mundane moments in your life are truly living art. Can you see them? Open your eyes wide and take it all in.
Congratulations! You are now a full-time artist.
You see, art is not about showing, but seeing. Regardless of your job, there is art in it. Look for it, find it, and grow from it. In this way, we can all escape the mundane and live in what I affectionately call Wonderland*. Pull from your life and experience every moment as deeply as possible, and then push it out of you like a weird little baby when you are home and able to. Or on the bus. Or in the park. Or at that local cafe you keep meaning to check out, but just have not gotten around to yet. It is like dreaming, but you do it when you are awake.
Many lessons we learn from Vincent, but what do we learn from Matthew? Let go. To best illuminate this concept, please accept my offering of a direct quote from him.
"I just love entertaining. I will do anything - stand-up comedy, video games, fencing, internet shorts - I just want to keep being lucky enough to entertain people anyway I can. I try never to limit my art to a medium."
In summation: let go and do not give up. Work hard and do not limit yourself. Art is everywhere. Learn how to see it, and then go find it.
*Wonderland (Vun-dar-Lund)—noun. A world of imagination that overlays reality. The ability to see and experience art and inspiration in the most mundane moments of everyday life. See also: Neverland**. (This definition provided by the official and entirely fictional dictionary of Lilith Matilda Gearhart. You are welcome.)
**Neverland (Neh-vuh-lund)—noun. Wonderland, but for those brave enough to never grow up. (Also from the Lilith Matilda Gearhart Dictionary).