Are you indulging your creative aspirations?
If you read our last adventure, then you’ll remember the importance of having a sacred space where your creative aspirations can unfold. The question remains however, what are we supposed to do once we find this space, and more importantly how do we turn the alluring chaotic thoughts inside our heads into art?
Las Vegas is hiding gems. Deep in old downtown is the Art District where there are people dedicated to their craft, living their art and sharing their works. Every day they sculpt, paint, and put on display their unique visions of the world. We can call them gems because they reflect light from a side of life so many of us silently crave. A life filled with deep purpose.
The Las Vegas Arts District hosts a street fair and festival every first Friday of every month. If you say ‘art’ in Las Vegas, someone will invariably say, ‘Have you been out to First Friday?”
We set out to see what all the fuss was about, and over the span of many months, we went out to the First Friday event to see the art and talk with the artists in a gallant attempt to find out how they do it.
The crowd was thin and young, then the crowd was thick and rowdy. Each time we went, the longest line was the line for deep fried candy bars. The atmosphere buzzed a hymn of release that only a Friday can hold, and even though there were whispers about how First Friday has turned into just another foody fair, it’s not true. We’ve been to those, and the First Friday festival is something else… with food.
There are actually a lot of food trucks, and a lot of live music, and a lot of kids, couples, and beloved dogs (we may have also seen a pet snake or two). The artists themselves are weaved through and around these more classical elements, pulsing veins of creativity breathing life into the crowd.
It doesn’t stop there, and there is even more magic that emanates from the surrounding buildings. There are gigantic murals, graffiti, and in true Las Vegas fashion, glorious neon on the outside of the buildings.
Inside those buildings there are small rooms, universes, filled with pure, color-filled imagination. Tight hallways. The smell of street food mixed with the smell of fresh paint and crafting materials. There are numerous nooks and odd walls that make it easy to walk in circles, which is both pleasurable and confounding at the same time.
You will connect with art at First Friday. There will be something there that delights or tickles you in a particular way. A majority of you probably won’t purchase this delight, bring it home and set it on display, but you’ll share a moment in time with someone else’s creation. In this small stretch of time we hope you feel a stirring in your mind, a biting sense that you have yet unexplored depths of thought.
We love the art, but we went to connect with the artists. We wanted to know how they did what they did because we believe that there is something unique about the temperament of a dedicated artist. We believe that they have within them an inner compulsion to work out the calamity of their existence through their craft.
In speaking with many of the Art District’s resident artists, and the many other artists bravely holding down their tents while the heat swelled, the winds howled, and the cold snapped, we discovered an interesting thread of thought that inspired this episode.
Become again a child and play with the fabric of your ideas.
It sounded exceedingly easy. Almost too easy. What did they mean, play?
You’ve got your sacred space, room to explore, and now, to create your dream, you’re going to let it all out, anything goes. In playing you can express your thoughts with the same freedom of imagination possessed by a five-year old that believes themself a superhero, or a frost queen.
Somewhere, between the emotionally elastic experience of pointed thought and total frivolity, you discover the expression of your dream. Maybe it’s not an exact reflection of your original thought, but it’s real, even more real than the specter of your initial intent. We’ve all had that perfect image in our head only to draw it out and see something completely different. That’s ok. That’s art.
The tale here is that in the same moment where we were experiencing the festival, we felt connected to the art. Walking up to an artist to hear their story, linger in their studio, see the materials of their labor and their discarded, half-used canvases, is serene. Seeing an artist standing next to their work and hugging their arms tight to their chest in a futile attempt to ward off the cold, awakens the idea that art is a journey.
Afterward our minds wandered a bit. Why did we have such a great time at this festival?
Art craves an audience. The Audience craves connection.
Our desire to see, to understand the people we know and choose to follow has been amplified by the increasingly wondrous capabilities of communication technology. Mostly, it is difficult to feel a connection when we cannot experience the story.
We have a longing to know the story of art’s becoming. We want to see the artists in their natural habitat, to see them create, fail, scrap what may otherwise be considered a masterpiece. We want to see them play because that’s how it’s done.
The First Friday festival offers a glimpse into the story of many artists. Go there. Talk to them. Experience the art.
Are you carving a space in your life where you are allowed to play with an idea? Leave a comment and share your thoughts, or maybe just let us know how we can do better.
Thank you for reading. Episode 5 »