Is Originality Free?

The act of viewing and reading art & poetry 
is usually pretty free and easy, but is making art 
so free? I don't mean the cost of supplies or the 
investment of time to make it, although those are 
issues. My poet friend and sometimes collaborator 
LouAnn Shepard Muhm's recent blog post has 
me thinking about the cost of putting your work 
out there.

Detail of recent painting in-progress.

No more free-bees, only details of my 
paintings before my August 2016 exhibit, 
'Spaces In Between' at Great River Arts in 
Little Falls, Mn. My word for 2016 is FREE, 
in its many implications...

Detail of recent painting in-progress.

To put truly new work out there is daunting,
and few do. In her post Muhm says, "And then 
you will go back to your comfortable life, to think 
your comfortable thoughts, to bite your tongue 
when you think it is prudent, and to answer 
your 'crazy' dream with silent admonitions to 
be realistic and to focus on achievable goals." 
Next, I cracked open the new book Originals:
How Non-Conformists Move the World
and Adam Grant states, "The last time you had 
an original idea, what did you do with it? 
Although America is a land of individuality and 
unique self-expression, in search of excellence 
and in fear of failure, most of us opt to fit in 
rather than stand out." Grant does go onto say 
that the most successful originals among us 
"know in their hearts that failing would yield 
less regret than failing to try." Are Muhm and 
Grant conspiring? Okay, okay. I will get to work, 
and free myself to make bigger messes. I won't 
be like the others who do not dare.

Both Muhm and Grant, pose a challenge. Have 
an idea or something to say? Do something 
about it, but do not expect it to be easy. One 
thing I know for sure is that when your art is 
shared, it really doesn't belong to only you 
anymore. It is out there, and people do with 
it what people do. 

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