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on making art

Updated: Aug 19, 2018

"Artistry is not something that is the possession of a few. Artistry is inherent in being a human being." -

Shoutout to my dad for sending me this TedTalk (and then following up twice to make sure I watched it). If you have a second, watch it.

This past weekend I had the chance to see Come From Away and The Band's Visit on Broadway with my parents. At this point, I shouldn't really be surprised by the power of a well-crafted show, but sitting on the velvet seats made me fall in love with this art form all over again. I've been thinking about this a lot lately, about the intersection of art and social justice, about the thing I love to do and the thing I want to do, and if or how or where those two things intersect.

I'm spending the semester studying human rights. We're currently in New York, and over the next few months I'll be traveling to Jordan, Chile, and Nepal. This will be a semester of study and research, of learning about the human rights abuses being committed around the world and about the organizations fighting against them.

It would be easy, maybe even natural, for me to shut myself inside that work. Theater can wait until I get back to my university. Art is not something I need to carry with me everywhere I go.

I've been telling myself that since middle school. And it's finally sinking it that I've been so wrong. Art is the way, maybe one of the only ways left, that we reach each other. It's been something vital in my life for as long as I can remember. My semester studying human rights is not about moving away from making art, it's about leaning in to human connection---and that's all art is anyway.

So I'm going to do my best to draw, even though my art is rarely recognizable unless I'm drawing sunflowers. I'm going to learn how to play a Lorde song on the piano when I can't get that melody out of my head. I read poetry on stage in a room filled with strangers. I'm going to take pictures and make videos that no one will ever see because I like to practice seeing beauty everywhere I go. I'm going to write. As much and as often as I can. I'm going to try to tell the stories of the things that inspire me, and make me laugh, and make me hopeful, not just the stories that make me sad and angry. I'm going to do my best to do all of this, and to not take myself too seriously, and to mess up, and to make lots of things that aren't very good, and then I'm going to start all over again. I'm going to make art because there is no other way of being.


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