empathy

How To Turn Your Life Into A Piece of Art

Photo by Klaus Enrique Gerdes

Photo by Klaus Enrique Gerdes

The little things we do every day make us who we are and define our greatness. We are not the annual huge events, but the small mundane habits. Through them we learn, we grow and we build the person that eventually experiences and achieves that huge thing that only comes about once in a while.

Living is a type of art and that through it we work on our masterpieces, ourselves. During this process we get to create, recreate, reinvent and fundamentally mold ourselves, as an artist would do with clay. We do so through those small every day things and they are a huge part of our process, which is nothing short of art.

There is something poetic in the way one wakes up in the morning and looks his or her partner that remains asleep, wishing, hoping, and dreaming. There is an intense creative process in planning one’s day in while having breakfast, trying to see how the future will unfold, hoping to be able to make use of the hours that are to come.

Reading during the commute to work is artful. The struggle to use every second in order to grow, to experience and to do what one likes, despite the movement of the train or of the bus, despite the said train being packed is nothing short of admirable.

Something else happens on those trains or buses that is very masterful. The exchange of looks between two people, and sometimes even, the exchange of words.

A lot of romantic stories started with looks exchanged on the train to work, early one morning, involving a rather tired she, looking ravishing and craving coffee and a dapper he, whose attention was captured from the moment he got on the train, two or three stops after her. Sometimes the two get to know each other, other times they lose each other forever in the crowd. Regardless of the scenario, there is beauty in these encounters.

Indeed, poetry is life in itself, nicely wrapped up in carefully chosen words and beautifully built metaphors. Small occurrences and actions are the raw material of art. Take a seemingly insignificant event of life and just add artistic perspective, the right words and there you have it.

Perhaps painters are the best at describing the artfulness of small every day things as Alain de Botton once argued. They have always had the eye to see the beauty in what so many would consider trivial, monotonous and simply boring. One could look at the works of Dutch painters such as Vermeer, Rembrandt and the early works of Van Gogh to see examples of such works.

What this proves is that there can be art in what seems the most trivial and monotonous act, it just takes the right eye to see it. With the passing of time of course, the every day actions of people have changed drastically. But something artful can still be found in the small acts of the modern every day life.

First of all, art is easier to promote by the individuals and I find rather artistic the habit of “curating” quotes, music and pictures on Tumblr or Instagram pages. Partially unknowingly, with every share you promote a sort of art, an artist, a work. I wish to see a painting of a young woman being moved by seeing a quote or a text or a picture on Facebook that profoundly moves her. I also wish to see a painting that shows a man’s desperate hunger to reply to a text from a woman that he tries to impress.

Art can be found in life, which is about the small things we do daily or very often. One could thus find art in some small things, but not in others. It simply depends on the eye, on the perspective. I find it artful how women carefully brush their hair every morning or late evening and how they apply the lipstick.

Living in London, you have to consider tea an art. It should be done with passion and with care. The process of choosing the best tea, carefully selecting just the right amount of leaves and putting them into the tea strainer followed by the waiting for it to brew for just the right amount of time so the tea is neither too strong, nor too weak. And then there is, of course, the art of serving that tea, using sugar, honey or neither, adding milk or lemon and selecting the right cup.

As others will find other small things artful, sometimes heavily influenced by the rosy-colored metaphorical perspective of love, what surely remains is that life is the greatest process of creation and we are both the creators and the subject of our work, ceassely working to make ourselves the masterpiece we envision in our minds.

William Alec is a full-time writer, dreamer and art lover. He took to writing at age 14 and his latest novel is called A hospital for souls.