Onwards and Artwards

Art is more than just painting, writing, or singing. Seth Godin defines it as “a human act, a generous contribution, something that might not work, and it is intended to change the recipient for the better, often causing a connection to happen.”

Making a salad for your son is art. Calling your grandma to check in on her is art. Holding the door open for a stranger is art. In short, “art is work that matters.”

There’s that saying we use to encourage one another, especially after setbacks: “Onwards and upwards” — and that’s where we hope our life will go. But often, up is the wrong direction. Art usually asks us to go down, deeper, to self-reflect, wrestle with our inner ghosts, and bring back something wonderful. For some, the wonderful will indeed be a painting, but for many, it’s simply the wherewithal to endure yet another teenage tirade with poise and calm. That, too, is art.

Like Dumbledore, we tend to prize ourselves on our ability to turn a phrase, but perhaps in this case, we should amend our original statement to this: Onwards and artwards — because according to Seth, everyone can be an artist if they choose, and if art is connection, unlike the path that only goes up, higher, to more, more, more, artwards will always be the right direction.