In the book I read for GCSE ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazou Ishiguro, the antagonists are clones who are strongly encouraged to do art as children in their dystopian school. As adults they go looking for answers as to why their art was so sacred and are met with the answer “we did it to prove you had souls at all”.
This quote has been ringing in my head for the past five years. Is art the window to our souls? Well, I’m not entirely sure where I stand on believing in souls… but I do believe art is something that can be a window to our purest selves. Whatever you create, the product will ultimately be unique to you and reflect a little piece of what’s inside your head.
It took me twenty years to understand that art doesn’t need to be tedious or perfect
Art comes in so many forms: painting, dancing, theatre, literature, music etc. One thing that these all have in common is bravery. Performing or showing people your creations leaves you vulnerable to criticism from others. But, even doing a bit of poetry before bed or drawing on your own can be scary because we are often our own worst critics, and it can be intimidating taking that first step.
I love painting, and I know first-hand that starting off a painting is the hardest part, especially if I am trying something new. In the end, I have realized that my favourite paintings are the ones that I had the most fun doing or feel personal to me; they are not necessarily the ones that look the best or show the most skill. It took me twenty years to understand that art doesn’t need to be tedious or perfect. It is an outlet of expression.
Art only came back into my life when I was at my most vulnerable
I stopped painting when I left school because it became about grades and perfection and so wasn’t interesting anymore. Art only came back into my life when I was at my most vulnerable. During the pandemic I fell into a very anxious place and a series of events lead me to finally opening up to the idea of counselling. Although sceptical, I was properly introduced to mindfulness and discovered different methods people use to keep calm.
Art has been proven to help many people as a mindfulness tool too by allowing people to express and process feelings; there aren’t many emotional outlets that society accepts as openly as art. It has personally helped me as a safe outlet of emotion, and I have really fallen back in love with painting and have even started writing a few (dodgy) poems. I feel connected to the process and not the outcome, just enjoy being free with a page in a completely childlike manner.
All in all, I really encourage you to lock back into your child-like self and think about using art for the better. Loving the messiness of painting or the freedom of dancing and being brave. I know I have discovered so much about myself on this artistic journey and I really encourage you to fall in love with creating something that shows your unique brilliance.
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