The natural, childhood progression from connect-the-dot drawing was to move into paint-by-numbers. As good as I was at it, it wasn't my thing. The finished piece never felt like it was my own. Filling in the blanks with predetermined colors from a set palette was not my idea of creativity. Sure, it took a certain level of skillset to be able to stay in the lines - especially with the shitty paint brushes that came with the set, but in the end, it was someone else's beach scene. I did it, but I didn't really make it. Making something is primal human, and it starts at birth, but it's not until you're potty trained that things start to get, well, interesting. "Do you need to make?," my mom would ask me. Followed by, "Did you make?" To make, of course meant to go potty. To poop. Peeing was never 'making' for some odd reason. Alas, I'd come out of the bathroom with my pants around my ankles and exclaim ever so proudly to my mother that I had in fact "made." She was always so proud of me that I thought if she likes this shit I'm going to keep on making... stuff.
As a heavyset little shy kid, a blank sheet of paper and a box of Crayola crayons was all I needed to keep myself occupied, and in no time I had my first solo show in the newly formed gallery on our refrigerator door where everyone could see what I had made. Maybe that's what Picasso meant about remaining an artist as an adult, in that it's not so much about the painting and drawing but about the making of something you can be so proud of - as it's uniquely your own. "Look what I made!"
By the time one enters high school, and then even college, the adult mindset starts to take over and it all becomes all about making a living. For a very few, very very few, making a living AND making art are one and the same. Today, to be a 'Maker' is a career path in itself, albeit one that tends to be niche, artisan, crafty, maybe even a bit of techy. Makers live in places like Williamsburg Brooklyn, Corktown Detroit, the Bay Area, Portland or Seattle to name just a few US-centric innovation kitchens, but it's a global movement that extends from Berlin to Bangkok, Copenhagen to Cape Town. Everyone is making.
Making is evident around the world from street art to the museums in the far corners! Part of the wonder of traveling is to experience what people are making 😀
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