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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Monday, March 29, 2010

Musings: Art Outside the Box: Fun vs. The Serious Artist

I love the cliche's that surround art. One of the strongest is the Serious Artist. The Serious Artist has Important Things To Say To the World. The Serious Artist is Political.Socially Important. The Serious Artist works in Serious Colors in Serious Ways and lives to be Very Very Serious. They have one way to do their art. They also have only one way they put on their socks. They never do anything by accident.They meant to do whatever they did, and by all that's holy, they did it.

I'm so sorry. I'm never going to get there. It's constitutional, I believe. They're born that way. I'm a born fumbler. I'm just very serious about continuing to fumble, which has served me well over the years.

This little stairway vignette pleased me so because it reminded me of how little I get done when I grind the fun out of things with my serious effort.  I'm past the stairs until I get new knees, but I loved the pictures of people picking their way up through the keyboard. They forgot the effort involved simply because they were focused on fun. Joy is a stream that carries us along. Serious art is more of a dried up creek looking for rain.

My worst enemy is inertia. That dried up creek that says what I do should be important. Vital. Serious. It comes out of cultural art expectations. It's real seat is depression, fear of failure, physical exhaustion, and the feeling that I can't possibly be good enough.

We are all good enough. The artist in us breathes, lives, sings, plays and thrums simply through our humanity. We're past good enough. We're light made to shine.

All these limits are in their own way, evil put against us. Every time I pull out the orange dye and the lime green thread, I leap into that river of joy and let it carry me, not to serious places, but to wherever joy goes.

Chuck art. Let's dance!


Sarah E. said...

Your post speaks to my heart...let's dance!

Anonymous said...

Beautifully liberating. Thank you.

janettestitches said...

I'm with you, several years ago I saw a quilter who was trying so hard to impress and be SERIOUS about her work she stresses me out.

Martha Ginn said...

I LOVE that pianostairs clip! I'm going to go in my studio and play with wild colors instead of matching the background. Your work is always inspiring.
Martha Ginn

Roberta Ranney said...

Ellen, You were made to dance! Your art dances off the walls! I have a serious artist sort in a group and it is as if we aren't even speaking the same language. My language is full of laughter, my quilts are often funny, and I don't believe in "this is the way you should" do it!" It is always refreshing to read your blog. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the permission to dance. I'll never be a erious artist either. I just want to play and make cool things--in my opinion--and a few clunckers, too!! Happy dancing. Lera

Lori said...

my smile is taking up my whole face!
you rock Ellen

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