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Create Journal Thrive

Why We Create: To Save Our Sanity

“Art has always been the raft on to which we climb to save our sanity.”

Dorothea Tanning, Salon, 2002

My wife Katie frequently states that for her, art is therapy. It is how she both escapes the world and processes it. All of her work is personal, even the dolls that people think are just cute little tchotchkes.

For me it is about self-expression and creativity, but on another level it is the thing I can do. Since the 2009 economic crisis, across my life in Finland, and through the current pandemic, I have not had to worry about finding a job, being laid off, or suffering the abuses of corporate overlords.

While I do have to worry about having enough spoons, how I use them is within my control. No one is telling me that I have to be at my desk and functional by 8 am, Monday through Friday. If I am, great. If I’m not, I rearrange things. The work still gets done, but it’s completed as I’m able.

This takes a lot of emotional strain off of me. Which means that it’s also managing my anxiety disorders. If you want to talk about taking steps to save our sanity, that’s what being a professional creative is for me.

To Save Our Sanity

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal Thrive

Art is Sustenance

“Art is sustenance.”

Sarah Sze, New York Times interview, 2013

Katie and I swap stories of being self-entertaining children. No one had to provide us with television, or the latest toys, or sit and play games with us. Both of us remember being left to our own devices and being perfectly happy reading, drawing pictures, or making things out of whatever materials were available to us.

We learned to make a lot of the things we wanted. That extended into adulthood. Toys, stories, decor, food, even clothing. It’s not just a matter of enjoying the arts and appreciating creativity. Art is sustenance, literally, because it’s what allows us to survive.

Given an unlimited budget, I would travel the world visiting museums and restaurants. Staying in interesting hotels would be nice, buildings with interesting architecture and rooms filled with quality furniture. Spaces in between would be filled by reading books, listening to music, and watching films. Mindful consumption of things that are edifying and uplifting.

Of course, I can do that now. I just need to spend more time on the business side of creating things, so I can make the money to support my appreciation of the arts. And, you know, pay the bills.

Art is Sustenance

If you enjoyed this post, you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal

The Definition of Art is a Zen Koan

For centuries people have debated over the definition of art. What qualifies as art, and what doesn’t? My wife Katie and I have probably had hundreds of hours’ worth of conversations over where the line between ‘art’ and ‘craft’ falls. Ultimately I think the definition of art is a zen koan. There is no answer. We need to continually try to define art because it’s the means through which we increase our personal appreciation of art.

Having a single, definitive definition of what art is would exclude people. New artists, with new materials and techniques and things to say, would automatically be left out of the conversation. It wouldn’t even lock art to the present, because it couldn’t even accommodate things being created right now. It would have to be based on some point in the past. Definition would create stagnation.

Art is a Zen Koan

If you enjoyed this post, you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.