I am not a creative; I am not an artist. Actually, I started this blog because I felt like I needed a creative outlet, and since I have zero creative skills, writing was all I could think to do. If you read last week’s blog, you know that I am not crafty either. That being stated, I LOVE artists, so a few years ago, I intentionally began seeking them out. I figured that if I couldn’t create, the least I could do was be around creatives, and maybe, just maybe their creativity would rub off on me. What I discovered was that art comes in various forms, and the more I found creative people, the more I realized that I needed a creative outlet too. What I also realized is that I have been surrounded by creatives, I just didn’t realize it.
One of my favorite creatives is my brother, Mario. Mario is 15 years my junior. He and I have the same mom and dad, and I when mom became pregnant with him, I was old enough to know how that happened. Needless to say, I was a little disgusted. My parents were so old (insert immature, obnoxious teenager eye-rolling right here). How could they be doing that? Just ewe… By-the-way, mom was about a decade younger than I am right now when she became pregnant with Mario, so looking back, my parents weren’t old at all. It’s funny what you think “old” is when you are 14 years old. Anyway, back to Mario. Mario was born in the fall, and I immediately loved him. He was the easiest baby, a fun toddler, and the absolute cutest little kid ever. He ended up growing up into an easy-going man, and he is a pleasure to be around.
Left: Mario & I when he was a little guy. Right: Mario and I in 2016, when he lived with me for a few weeks.
From the time he was in elementary school, he leaned towards the arts. Art was his favorite class, and he always chose art for his electives. In our family, wanting to pursue anything in “art” wasn’t exactly easy. Our family tends to be business-oriented and metrics-driven, and we were always told that getting a “good job” was the priority. My narrow lens always pushed me against pursuing anything creative, but Mario stayed on his creative course. Now that I am older, I look at art not as a job, but a valuable passion, and as I spend more and more time with artists, I have begun to acknowledge what a powerful talent they have.
I just read Heretics and Heroes: How Renaissance Artists and Reformation Priests Created Our World by Thomas Cahill. My knowledge about the Renaissance is limited, but I have been fortunate enough to see art from this time period in museums. I never knew the impact that the art had, and as I read Cahill’s connections in his book, I was absolutely blown away by the effect art has on people.
After reading the book, and considering the pictures that my brother takes, it started me thinking about modern day art and the influence that it is making in our world. Spend a few minutes on social media, and you will get what I am saying. In my world, my brother, Mario, has made quite an impact. I don’t know that I really understood the significance of his photography until I created this blog. As I go back and tell stories of my past, I continue to find pictures that my brother has taken. As I consider my family’s history, the most compelling pictures are the ones that my brother took. Now days, everyone has an I-phone, and everyone thinks he/she is a photographer. Heck, even I love to take pictures, and I love the share them on social media, but I know that I am not a photographer. I am a picture-taker, and there IS a difference. When I look at good pictures, with appropriate lighting, angles, and perspective, I know that I am looking at quality photographs. When I look back at my brother’s pictures, I am seeing fascinating angles, exquisite lighting, and always interesting perspectives. What he sees is different than what I see. His ability to detect the details and to consistently be looking for the interesting features is what makes him an artist. Where I might see a picture, give it a glance, like or dislike it, he dissects it. He sees what I don’t see.
One of my cherished photographs courtesy of Mario.
For years, I just saw the church and the sky. I always missed the best part of the picture: my dad walking into the courtyard.
My favorite thing about artists is that they are always encouraging other people to be creative. They know that there is an abundance of creativity, and because each person’s creativity is unique, there is no competition. I want to acknowledge my brother because he consistently reminds me to keep writing. He consoles me when I struggle to find content. He cheers me on when I create something that is acceptable. Also, one of the other things that I love about him is that he unapologetically puts whatever he wants out into the universe. He is audacious, and as I work to find my bravery, his courageous spirit gives me permission to try new things, to fail at new things, to tap into the teeniest bit of creativity that I might have. For his fearless spirit, I am grateful.
Whatever your interest is: painting, photography, writing, crocheting, cooking, building, music, etc…if you have a creative interest, try it out. If you haven’t identified one, considering adding a creative outlet into your life. Even if you aren’t good, it still feels good to release some creative energy into the universe. Happy Creating.
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and in the thrill of creative effort. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)