The relationship between the artist and his art is one of raw emotion, turbulent understanding, and extraordinary fusion of thought, feeling, and creation. I have encountered such a unique experience both in my writing and through various seasons of my life. It begins with a thought, an innocent realization of something poignant enough to generate a series of mental and emotional connections. Often it is a subtle word or picture you happen across, occasionally it is a phrase or an image that leaps off the page and grabs your soul. No matter what moves the spirit to create, that simple beginning sets off a chain reaction from deep within. I find myself restless, unable to concentrate until I jot my thoughts on a piece of scrap paper. I have been known to scribble thoughts on post it notes, the back of envelopes, even on a grocery receipt. In a furry, at stoplights I flush out the thoughts and images flooding through my mind straight to my fingertips, I often have to re-read what I have written in order to truly comprehend what seemingly bypassed the major processing areas.
This leaves me wondering if the artist creates the art or if the art shapes the artist? If the latter is true, where does it come from? Or perhaps, it is some fantastic oozing from the process of combining mind with matter in such a way that the line between them no longer exists...
If you like cook, this is the equivalent to deviating from a recipe: you begin with your basic ingredients, but as you become inspired by the aromas and taste of your dish, you begin to transform it into something even better. Those moments between what it was planned to be and what it became are when it is unclear if the dish or the chef determined the final outcome. One thing is for sure, it won't be what the recipe called for.
Let's say you are a runner. You plan your run to be healthy, for the joy of being outdoors. As your body becomes more fit, you appreciate the way your clothes fit and the way you feel, so you run even more. You take on adventurous excursions on detours and look forward to the next time you lace up your sneakers. Somewhere in the journey from the 5K to the marathon something changed in you, was it how you felt about running or did the running change how you felt about you?
When an artist sits in front of a lump of clay, there may be a thought as to what the shapeless lump may be, but somewhere in the midst of pulling and kneading, rolling and shaping, the clay begins to shape the artist and together the material and the artist become more than just an artist and a lump of clay as two separate things. The process of creation has impacted them both.
Great teams function the very same way, consider a leader when he has a new idea: he presents the proposal with every detail laid out to his team. Once they launch into the plan, the synergy of the team generates outcomes beyond the original scope. This doesn't mean the team got off task, the additional outcome could be the increase in group cohesion, or a team member discovering a hidden talent or skill. The team is never the same as how it began...it begins with a simple inspiration.
So what have you set out to accomplish? Where are you in the process? Looking back, how much different is the outcome than you imagined...how much different are you?