April 15 is World Art Day, created by International Association of Art in partnership with UNESCO as a “celebration to promote the development, diffusion, and enjoyment of art.”
The day was first declared in 2012, and since then countries around the globe have celebrated with festivals, exhibits, competitions, conferences, and more.
For families, this day is a good reminder that art and creativity are part of our lives every single day. It is also a reminder that all we have to do to celebrate this day is remember we ourselves are part of that artistic landscape, no matter how young or old, no matter who and where we are.
With this in mind, here are four quotes (not necessarily from artists) I have found have help me stay enthusiastic and creatively curious about this little word with an infinite meaning: art.
Comparison is the death of joy.
Like art evolves, changes and grows, this quote is sort of an amalgam of something several people have said, and has been attributed to authors like Mark Twain and C.S. Lewis as well as President Theodore Roosevelt. Whoever said it first or best is irrelevant to me in my own artistic journey, as it is 100 percent true.
If you compare yourself to others in any way, you will always find reasons to think, “you aren’t good enough” to show off your achievement or to even try. Don’t do this.
How to apply it: When I first started getting back into drawing, I looked at many works of art from fine art to fan art to folk art, and at first became discouraged I would never get to that level of talent. Eventually, I realized I shouldn’t compare myself to others, but rather be inspired by them.
For World Art Day take a look at some favorite artists or art styles and apply them to your own. I’ve been doing this for more than five years with my “Be the Artist” series, and I have yet to run out of artists and ideas to try.
Give it a go. You can do it!
“The world is but a canvas to our imagination.” Henry David Thoreau
You don’t have to escape to a secluded pond to get inspiration from the world around you, although I do recommend nature and neighborhood walks as a way to clear your head of bad thoughts and fill it up again with inspired ideas.
As I mentioned earlier, art is all around us, and when you look at the world with an artistic eye, as many nature artists do, it is surprising how many hidden treasures you find in plain sight.
How to apply it: This is good quote to help inspire creative upcycling that can be put to use just as easily for upcoming Earth Day events as for World Art Day. Find an “unlikely” canvas for an original piece of art. Old cardboard scraps, smooth rocks, discarded wood planks, and even fallen leaves can be unique starting points for new creations.
The world around us can be used for art media as well. Coffee, tea, and juice can be used for paints, and crushed eggshells or flower petals for mosaics. Look around and see what you can find, and turn it into art.
“Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people — the beauty within themselves.” Langston Hughes
As a poet, Hughes’ medium was words, and he excelled in bringing out both the beauty and harsh realities of his world, as well as make sure it depicted every aspect of his identity.
Poets like Hughes can “paint” a world and mood using just the right words. Here are a couple of lines from his “The Weary Blues,” taken out of context:
“And far into the night he crooned that tune.
The stars went out and so did the moon.
The singer stopped playing and went to bed
While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.
He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.”
Even if you didn’t read the entire poem, know about Hughes’s struggles or life, these carefully “painted” lines evoke a mood or image. That’s the beauty of a writer’s words.
How to apply it: Hughes said artist should bring out the “beauty within themselves,” and one way to do this is with word art. You can do this by finding a word that holds meaning to you and draw it within a plain outline of yourself (even just tracing around a photo or drawing simplistic head or figure will work).
This is a simple way to show off a little bit of that inner beauty inside of us all.
Likewise, if there is a favorite writer or poet, use a couple of their words as art inside an outline of an image that represents the phrase, word or passage.
If you don’t want to draw your own, young artists can have fun playing with the WordArt.com creator; I used in the above image to celebrate the “inner beauty” of that beautiful villain, Smaug.
When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment…Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not. — Georgia O’Keeffe
O’Keeffe had so many fantastic quotes about life, art and observing the world, and this one reminds us to slow down, stop, and look closely at the small and ordinary things we tend not to notice. This was evident in her beautiful, sometimes sensual, closeups of flowers.
She stopped and looked the little things, and held them up where we could all see them differently.
How to apply it: Take some time to do just that: look at the beauty of the “little things.” Find a route you take often, like the area you might walk a pet, the trip to the mailbox, or even the morning walk through the home. Look around at everything, and see what there is you haven’t yet discovered.
It might be a plant, a crack in a corner, a pile of rocks, or unusual pattern on a sidewalk. Then simply capture it as the artwork it is. Take a picture or make a sketch, or use it as a detail in a completely different world than the one it is in.
World Art Day wants us to celebrate the impact art has on the world on a global scale. Be part of that impact in your own corner of it.