After my recent visit to the West Austin Studio Tour (WEST) and the even larger East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) last year, I’ve discovered something. On my June newsletter I wrote:
Artists are different, I’ve learned. Different from the people I normally work with and different from typical photographers. They judge life by another standard and embrace creative expression like an essential element of life. It was eye-opening. It’s like experiencing another culture where analysis and logic don’t rule the world. An alternate world where creativity, self-expression, and emotion are the currency.
Ever since high school, then college, and throughout my thirty plus years in my career, I’ve lived pretty much in my left brain. I analyze, categorize, create processes, and apply logic to the world. They are useful skills and ones that keep many people gainfully employed. Most of the people who surround me have a similar tendency. And after a while, that’s the only world you know. But there’s more, I discovered.
It took years of photography and writing via this blog to reactivate my right brain — and very slowly in the beginning. After all, it takes a lot of work to restart machinery that’s been idle for forty years. But, as I got the right side working, I’ve realized a balance to the world. Long lost memories, when I was a child, resurfaced. The fact that in 3rd grade, I won a school art contest or the fact that I constantly built houses, ships, and crafts out of scrap wood and paper. Those were the creative times as a child that usually gets overwritten by more serious and marketable hard skills later in life.
As I talked to artists at EAST and WEST, it’s like I’ve rediscovered a long lost world. I find it fascinating. They free their mind to the dance of ideas, like the free spirits at Eeyores do with their bodies.
I have no regrets over my life or career choices and I have no plans to ditch my corporate job and become a full-time artist. It’s not just because of my years of self-discipline either. I think there is a benefit to both the right and left brain. You need the whole brain to experience a whole life.
The reality is, even these free-spirited artists have another side to them. Many of them have a day job and making their art and displaying them at these studio tours feeds their creative side. Some are school teachers, nurses, and work at state agencies. They too have managed their own custom blend of left and right. The trick is to balance their vocation and their job, which I believe is essential for a happy life.
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