How directly connected are artists to their art?

Today I wanted to discuss something that’s been on my mind a bit. And that is the question of: how closely or directly connected are artists to their art? Is an artist’s art a part of them or is it separate? When I’m talking about ‘art’, I’m using the term broadly, because I’m mostly talking about written forms of art rather than visual art, although I’m sure everything could also apply to that.

When I first started writing, it was like an escape for me. I was in a bad place and writing poetry was how I poured my feelings out without them drowning me. I used to only be able to write when I was sad or down because negative feelings always appear stronger, therefore they are easier to recognise and write about. Now however, I have learned to recognise positive feelings and their strength, equal to the negative. I now find it easier to write when I’m happy because I feel more inspired and motivated. I have learned to write happy things. Although maybe a better way to describe it would be: optimistic. I try to write things that create or show a journey. To show people the light or to inspire. So, I need to be able to tap into those negative feelings in order to create a journey to the positive.

I’m writing this because there have been a few times where someone has expressed their concern for me and asked if I was okay, because of something I wrote. I’ve been asked why I write what I write when in some cases I’m different in person to what I express in my writing. An example is the other day a coworker asked me why I often write things that make me seem so insecure when I am actually a quite confident person. She was referring to my poem ‘The Girl in the Red Coat‘. While I write in first person, my poems are always necessarily personal. For this poem in particular, I’d just bought a red coat and it inspired me, because I viewed it as a symbol of confidence and a clothing piece that would turn heads. I’d never owned a red coat before and I just came up with the line ‘I will be the girl in the red coat’ as an expression of ‘I will be that confident girl who is loud without speaking, who everyone looks at. I will be seen’. Because I suppose I’m quiet a lot of the time (until I get the chance to speak) and I’ve been made to feel a bit invisible sometimes. So.. this symbol of confidence in the red coat simply gave me a small boost of positivity knowing that I might not be the quiet invisible one anymore and people may be able to see my confidence. The poem is meant to inspire others, to give others confidence, so when they read it they are reciting these affirmations to themselves about how ‘I am allowed to be loud’ and ‘I have a purpose’. This I hope will induce more positive thoughts in people, because I am aware of the insecurities of others. The poem was not necessarily a reflection of my own insecurities, but a message for anyone who may have needed to hear it.

When you’re a writer you learn to observe and remember. Perhaps more than the everyday person. The ability to write is built off of the ability to describe and in some cases reflect. I write things that a younger version of myself may have needed to hear or things I think other people may need to hear. I observe and read about others feelings so I know how different people feel, because not every person perceives situations in the same way. I write to reflect and describe the feelings of others as much as my own. And while a lot of it is, not everything I write is about myself. Sometimes it’s about no one in particular, but for the people. This is why everything I write isn’t necessarily a direct reflection of myself, and art isn’t always directly connected to the artist.