Stories and lessons learned about the hows and whys of living by a traditional understanding of art â€” not as object, but as activity, as a way of life. Included are essays about principles of design, measure, and proportion, as well as social and economic aspects of working as an artist — earning money, working for community, teaching, learning….Â You can read it in it’s entirety below, and download it free or buy a paper copy ($20, full color, w/photos) through the bookstore. There’s also a forum at theworkofart.org.
The ideas aren’t new but, like seeds, they must be adapted to each environment, and they only live on if we plant, tend, harvest, and share them: We engage in the work of art when we fit our unique and individual selves into a whole life and landscape, into our communities, into our common stories. The doing of it â€” from washing the dishes to hoeing the beans to painting, drawing, or sculpting â€” it all requires art: technique, skill, awareness, patience, perseverance. Traditional wisdom says the same: “An artist is not a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of artist.” Why, then, do we believe the popular myth of the outcast genius pitting her or himself against the whole of society? The stories are how I started to see the world â€” and to understand art â€” in ways that made more sense, that offered support and encouragement, and that made it possible for me to live by art (tho that looks quite different â€” better! â€” than I might have thought 20 years ago).
Some reader responses:
â€œKiko! I love this about making art….your words speak to me. Thank you.â€ â€” Cathy Wilson
â€œThanks Kiko. Beautiful essay! My practice is of spirit, art and science of earthcare and regeneration practiced at Home. Home is everywhere. Welcome Home!â€
â€œthanks Kiko, and thanks for providing the feedback forum so that we can share what your writing has triggered in us!â€ â€” mona
â€œKiko – Thank you for expressing so eloquently the mess in my heart. …All those times Iâ€™ve heard, â€œYou canâ€™t make a living doing art.â€ Well you know what, you canâ€™t make a living denying your soul. If youâ€™re passion is beauty and art – do it anyway, at least youâ€™ll feel whole and connected. And I know many artist now who make enough or more than enough money to be happy.Keep doing what youâ€™re doing.â€ â€” Annie
â€œThanks for writing this out!â€
â€œThis really resonates with me. Iâ€™ve been fighting all my life to avoid labels and try to define myself by my actions. I like the concept of explaining my identity without using the phrase â€˜I amâ€™â€.Â â€” Elise