The Interchangeability of Life and Art By Suzanne Barry

By Suzanne Barry


“What am I doing with my life?”


We all have been faced with this question. This question breeds so many subsequent thoughts and emotions. Within the bundle of these thoughts comes the feelings of fear, hope, happiness, hopelessness, usefulness, and uselessness amongst others. The emotions that are felt are very different for each person. Why is that? It is not programmed in our genetic makeup to feel one emotion and not the other. This fact confirms that however way we interpret this question is completely up to us. The question is a plain pizza pie and the feelings incorporated are our toppings of which you can exclude pineapple and include sausage. Everyone understands a good food analogy.


I have wrestled with this question for quite some time and I still do. Exploring this question has given me a sensation of excitement and purpose, however it has also placed me in deep depression and anxiety as I ponder the frightening parts of existentialism. This led me to understand the fragility of this question. The thought itself can make or break an individual. Surprisingly, during the darker moments I learned of the beauty of this question. Each time I thought of this it brought me back to one conclusion: I am an artist, we are all artists.


As I have examined many of our generations influential people I have realized that they are all artists who have realized that this is their identity that has been gifted to us from God. I have realized that people are so perturbed by this question because they fail to identify themselves as an artist. The title of artist is not reserved for specific people. Some will dismiss this title because they believe that creativity is too impractical. The practical cannot develop without creativity. Dr. Ben Carson is an artist. Without his creative vision he would not have been able to successfully separate siamese twins.


The creative seem invincible. They appear to have unwavering confidence and power at the tips of their fingers. They conjure up ideas in their heads and are able to bring them to fruition. What keeps so many people from bringing their ideas to life is the voice of doubt within that tells them they are not artists and are not capable of creating what they dream of. The difference between those who bring their thoughts to life and those that don’t is not that one is more gifted than the other. The difference is that one identifies with being an artist and treats everything that they do as a product of their artform while the other denies this identity and seeks a life that is planned out and makes “sense.” A life that makes sense was created for us and we all merely followed.


We will never be able to have full control over our life just as we will never be able to have full control over our artwork. The obstacles that we experience in both give them character. They individualize it because in that moment and time whatever obstacle we experience is specific to that moment and time. If we were to experience an obstacle at a different time it would be a completely different outcome. This is the unpredictable factor of life. Artists do not fight this instead embrace it.


Creators hold their art very close to their heart. They approach it very intentionally and want each part of it to reflect their individuality. They do not compromise their vision to fit what people want or what is considered normal. Artists are able to explore parts of society and deeply understand the underlying issues. This is not something that can be done by merely going to school and obtaining a degree. There must be a level of investment and commitment to gaining understanding that unlocks segments that are essential to covering the spectrum. Those that delve deep enough are those who will be able to provide the most effective solutions. If they, themselves do not do this they will inspire other artists to create solutions.


Artists are the pace changers of the world. They accept their individual responsibilities and do not seek security. Why would we seek security in a world that is the complete opposite of secure. What is the life that you envision? Will you create it? Do you identify as an artist?