I saw this sign at an art gallery/studio in a beachside town in Oregon and felt a little zing of recognition. I felt it in my body to be true.
Artists are shapeshifters. We work with our hands; we get dirty. We read, absorb, and digest. We watch and listen. We feel, deeply. We philosophize. We attend cocktail parties and auctions. We sell expensive work, if we’re lucky and work very hard. We sell no work at all. We donate our work to people or causes who have less than we do. We will often do whatever it takes for the sake of the artwork (even if that means doing without in other areas, if only temporarily. Read as you will: scrimping on sleep/food/rent/non-studio experiences…most artists have done it all). We’ve been insiders. We’ve been outsiders.
Maybe much of the above is buying into the myth of the artist (that noble, poor, misunderstood creature). But I’ve been all of these things, and I do believe that this ability to shapeshift, the way we can be everywhere, is important, even strategic. We can make people slow down, and we can make them feel.
Today, that’s a superpower.