We spent a marvelous morning on the streets of Denver for the annual Chalk Art Festival. This event features more than 200 professional and amateur artists who spend hours on their hands and knees over the course of two days, transforming Larimer Square into a bright and colorful street museum, adorned in vivid pastel chalks.
“Let me list for you some of the many ways in which you might be afraid to live a more creative life: You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or—worst of all—ignored. You’re afraid there’s no market for your creativity, and therefore no point in pursuing it. You’re afraid somebody else already did it better. You’re afraid everybody else already did it better. You’re afraid somebody will steal your ideas, so it’s safer to keep them hidden forever in the dark. You’re afraid you won’t be taken seriously. You’re afraid your work isn’t politically, emotionally, or artistically important enough to change anyone’s life. You’re afraid your dreams are embarrassing. You’re afraid that someday you’ll look back on your creative endeavors as having been a giant waste of time, effort, and money. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of discipline. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of work space, or financial freedom, or empty hours in which to focus on invention or exploration. You’re afraid you don’t have the right kind of training or degree. You’re afraid you’re too fat. (I don’t know what this has to do with creativity, exactly, but experience has taught me that most of us are afraid we’re too fat, so let’s just put that on the anxiety list, for good measure.) You’re afraid of being exposed as a hack, or a fool, or a dilettante, or a narcissist. You’re afraid of upsetting your family with what you may reveal. You’re afraid of what your peers and coworkers will say if you express your personal truth aloud. You’re afraid of unleashing your innermost demons, and you really don’t want to encounter your innermost demons. You’re afraid your best work is behind you. You’re afraid you never had any best work to begin with. You’re afraid you neglected your creativity for so long that now you can never get it back. You’re afraid you’re too old to start. You’re afraid you’re too young to start. You’re afraid because something went well in your life once, so obviously nothing can ever go well again. You’re afraid because nothing has ever gone well in your life, so why bother trying? You’re afraid of being a one-hit wonder. You’re afraid of being a no-hit wonder”
The last place anyone expects to find beauty is their garage floor, but that is exactly where I found the subject of today’s post. In a previous post, Cameras Don’t Matter, I explained how the greatest tool in a photographer’s arsenal is the art of seeing– the ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Today’s post is a perfect example of that.
LEARNING TO SEE
Those of us who live where winter pays an annual visit are all too familiar with the salts and chemicals that are sprayed on the roads to melt the accumulating ice. Although these precautions are necessary to keep our roads safe, the end result is ours cars, streets and garage floors take a beating as the snow melts leaving behind a crusty white residue. Is all of this a nuisance? Absolutely. Is it ugly? Well, that depends on how you see it… Continue reading →