March 25, 2014

Why Everyone Should have an Artist Friend

I have many wonderful friends in my life and they each fill different roles. Hopefully I fill different roles in theirs too. Some of my friends are great listeners that I can go to when I'm stuck in one area or another. Others usually are the ones who need a listening ear and feel they can come to me. Some friends are encouragers, some give me tough love. Some ask the hard questions and others are content to get together socially and not scratch too far below the surface. We can't be all things to all people nor should we try.

But there's a certain type of friend I think we all need in our lives. Everyone needs an artist friend. My artist friend is also my client, so saying he's my friend might not be exactly true. But when I meet with him, I always feel like I've been in the company of a friend.

Here are a few reasons why I think everyone should have an artist friend.

1. Artist friends encourage creativity - There's something about being around creative people that inspires creativity in us. Artists look at the world with a unique perspective and they are always looking for opportunities to create. We spend so much of our time consuming what other people have created (TV shows, books, blogs, magazines, etc.), but how much time do we spend creating? I think we all have something wonderful inside that the world needs. But it takes tapping into it a little bit.

2. Artist friends see the value in all people - I witnessed this when my artist friend took as much time to speak to a 6-year old child as he did to speak to the director of an art gallery. Artists don't see people for what they can do for them. They see each individual as someone to collaborate with, whether on ideas, projects, stories, or just a great conversation. They know it's not about what others can do for's about what we can all do for each other.

3. Artist friends appreciate enthusiasm - I'm learning more and more in life that a big percentage of success comes from being enthusiastic. I may not always know the answer or do the right thing, but I'm going to be enthusiastic about it...especially when working with my clients. Artists' lives can be solitary at times so when they come across someone who is excited about what they are doing, they appreciate it. Artists understand that sometimes enthusiasm is contagious and all it takes is a little spark.

4. Artists value ideas - What's the best idea you've ever had? Did you act on it or let it mull around inside your head for 20 years. It feels like society only values the ideas that make you rich. What about the little ideas that might improve the life of just one other person? Aren't those worth acting on too? Artists know this is true.

5. Artist give of themselves - Art is a very personal thing. And it's not easy to make a living or a life as an artist. They have to keep at it day after day, year after year. Or else they give up. But the ones who do make it understand that it's all about giving of yourself, emptying yourself out. Because they know there's plenty more to go around and they'll get filled up again in no time.

I always wanted to be an artist, but I ended up becoming a writer instead. Which is just fine by me. But I'm sure glad that I get to spend time with artists because they enrich my life in so many ways.