Art is an attitude

All we want is your art.

We don’t want your painting, or your screenplay, or your dance… Unless it’s art.

We don’t want your customer service, your management, or your sermon… Unless it’s art.

“Art is an attitude.” — Seth Godin

It yearns for human connection. Of creating a new experience, viewpoint, atmosphere, or emotion. It gets high from transformation.

It is not paint-by-number, playing each note exactly like Schubert did, or doing only what the employee handbook says.

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Art is when we put our own magic into life. When we connect with another human when we just as well could have not.


Art is the woman who walks up to the man sobbing on the sidewalk, proclaiming to the empty gazes that surround him to “Please help me,” as she squats down, looks him in the eye, leans in, and says, “Sir, what do you need?”

I don’t have the balls to do this. But the artist does.

I’m scared that there might be a scene. I’m worried that the situation might get to a point that I can no longer control. Maybe he needs a place to stay. Maybe he needs medical attention. And if he confides any of these terrifying things in me, I’ll have to own it. I’d much rather follow the herd, avoid eye contact with him, and kill the human connection that the artist is unafraid of.

The artist has these same hesitancies, but she does it anyway because she’s confident in her abilities and limits. She knows what she’s willing to do, which is more than I’d do, but less than I’d feel obligated to.

The artist goes through life with no blame and no excuses. She relies, not on a net for her safety, but on her ability to connect with life and sway it to her desire. Freedom is the air she breathes.

The artist may not paint. Or dance. Or sing. But maybe he does.

Here’s what the artist does do… The artist carries himself through life with open hands, an open posture, and a big heart. The artist gives, creates, makes, and plays. The artist creates anew in any aspect of life he chooses.

If that’s with a brush or a pencil — fine. But it could just as well be with a clipboard, a pizza slicer, a cash register, a badge, or a pulpit.


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Jonas writes daily essays and meditations here at Medium. To get them delivered straight to your inbox as soon as they’re live, click here.