A column by Erik Sosa
“You just gotta ignite the light”
I came across a quote by Chilean author Isabel Allende, that resonated deep within. “Creativity is not always something to do with the arts or writing, and it has to do with the way you carry your life.” I was shook! Not because I paint and write or am expressive and an out of the box thinker, so therefore, I may be creative. But because, as of late, I better understand that I need to carry my own weight in life, instead of having life toss me around like a plastic bag in the wind. Queue in Katy Perry. Pretty mesmerizing at times, but overall aimlessly pointless. If creations are to be truly useful, it should not be about the final result for others to judge that should take precedence, but what stems from within when taking control of things, making decisions, and learning from that process with flair. Who says you can’t teach a loose cannon how to sparkle with direction?
In the world full of color, life is full of tops and bottoms, and it is through tongue and cheek that I can often better express myself. Creatively speaking, nothing is ever easy if it’s meant to be substantial. Here are a couple of lessons that being my artistic journey has taught me about life.
First, one can only control the inputs, not the outputs. I have been painting for almost twenty years, and conveniently enough, I found much “success” early on in my career. Soon after, I found myself pregnant and living a suburban commemorative plaque kind of wife lifestyle. And, as with all things in life, one day your in and the next day you’re out. Trying to recapture the limelight, while raising kids and living in Wisconsin, well, let’s say that had an effect on me and what I was producing as an “artist.” In time, I would again find my artistic voice in writing for “GRAB MAGAZIN.” Fast forward to today, and I find myself in a place where I know who I am as an artist because, in time, I have found a way to marry artistry with fatherhood and have come to realize that to a certain point, I can’t control how my work is received. I can only control what I put into it. Although this profound revelation didn’t happen overnight, I can a sure was very freeing to know that expression of self is about letting go of the negativity, faults, and flaws of one’s own life and its perception that others may have. I realized soon after that, all I had to do was to keep moving forward by working and producing my heart’s desires. That was it.
You are not guaranteed external validation. We yearn for it and think that we need it. But it isn’t brilliant to base our self-esteem and our original life source on something we can and never will be able to control. Do this often enough, and the self-validation you will find within will be higher than what anyone else can give you.
Second, it’s about the journey, not the destination. Creativity is really about the process, not just the end result. Following on from lesson one, the natural conclusion is if you are to continue working, while experimenting with different ideas or mediums, some of which will be complete fails, you will find solace and comfort in the knowledge of efforts made. Eventually, through time, trial and error, you will ultimately get to a place, an achievement of a metamorphosis of sorts, where elucidation of self becomes more comfortable and more natural as we pull from past experiences. You know your work is done, because your heart will lead you there. This is the process. This is what the job is all about. The results of that work is the least important. Maybe people will love it, perhaps they’ll hate it, or maybe they won’t even notice. Remember, you can’t control the result and how it is received. Once it is done, it is out of your hands; your part of the process is over. And on to the next.
‘Cause baby I’m a firework!”
Editors note – Grab Magazine is based in Chicago.