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Being an Artist: On Childlike Creativity

Being an "artist" looks different in all life's stages. When I was teaching, my hope for each kiddo (kindergarten through fifth grade) was that they could dig out their creative creature - that thing living inside of them that was hungry to create. It was exploration, excitement, and process.

Observing kids in this creative flow state reminds me of my childhood. I could lose myself with ease for hours, even days, in my art. In reality, how different is that from 30-year-old me today? I still seek those moments of losing myself in my art practice the same way I did when I was building an extensive fort with my best friend amongst the trees in her backyard or filling a box with friendship bracelets to give as birthday gifts throughout the year.

How much do we, as "artists", really leave behind this childlike need to create? Do we always have a creative creature looking to get out and express itself? Do we learn to repress the creative creature and opt to leave behind the excitement we once found in the process of making? Maybe my art practice isn't so different than it was when I was little after all.

As I write this, I am six days out from the due date of our first child. Anticipating the baby within me and the creative creature within them is too much to handle. A little companion that will dive into an explorative flow state with me - a girl can dream, right?

I wrote small blurbs, each titled "Being an Artist", one day in my journal. Scribbling the words quickly onto my paper, I realized how vast this idea of "artist" really is. Some entires touch on solitary work vs. community based art, the idea of the "starving artist" that too many of our kids are taught to believe, compromise, belonging, process, competition, artistic voice, and many more. I'll be posting these "Being an Artist" entries in the coming months and welcome any and all feedback!

Over here with my swirling thoughts,

Kelsey Shields


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