Several years ago I asked an artist friend of mine, “What is art?”
She was thoughtful for a minute, then answered “Art is something that remains beautiful even after it’s stopped hurting.”
Pithy as it is, I like this description of art. Creativity is an itch that people scratch not necessarily because they want to, but because they need to. The acts of writing, painting, sculpting, welding, acting, or whatever medium is used because it is preferable to not expressing the idea. Better the imperfect act of creation – than to let their ideas die.
Artists create because they have to.
“It isn’t whether they pass or fail, but how much they suffer along the way.” – Evil Teacher’s Credo
In some ways I wonder if students are artists by this definition. Students have a desire to grow, to become more, and they work towards that goal… if so, then their life is their art. And teachers? We want to make minds better. We demonstrate, we lecture, we teach because it is necessary to us. The students are our canvas, and after they pass on from our classes what they learn remains beautiful.
I think that not every painter, singer, sculptor, dancer or writer is an artist. For some people, it is a job. There is no desire, no passion, or no vision behind making something. I think it is easy to say that not every teacher is an artist…
… but enough of us are.
Teaching isn’t easy, long hours, hard work and low pay. There are sacrifices we make in our lives because we need to teach. We don’t need to “suffer for our art,” but we teach because it is an itch that must be scratched and there is no other way.
For me it isn’t whether they pass or fail. Did they learn? Did they take the easy path, or the right one?