Arts in Society (AiS) Grantee Awarded $30k 2022 Cycle

“Artists Should “Play” More...”

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The Art of Play

How do you relate or respond to this idea of play when making your art? I often hear this phrase, but what does it really mean? I feel a bit like a fraud when I apply the word "play" to my work. Because, well, it's work. And it's hard. And I have to solve problems. And I've spent much of my life developing a strong work ethic. The last thing I want to feel is that my work is, in some way, childish.

Children at play seem to be answering the call to self-sufficiency and independent thinking, as they joyfully solve problems and copy adult behaviors. Children play at doing life. It's hardwired, but I feel resistant to using the word "play" concerning my art. So, I decided to try and understand my resistance, and I believe I figure it out. This list is a prompt to help us think about how to play and where we need to mature in our art-making.

To be childish about our work shows up when we blame others for our failures, are hypersensitive to criticism, experience emotional extremes (rejection or anger), are self-critical (I'm not talented, or I'll never be good at this), and attention-seeking. Children have two choices: They can be childlike (endearing) or childish (disagreeable). But adults can be mature while also being childlike, as we find joy in the journey of discovering our art and expressing it in meaningful ways. We need not be naive about the business of art or surprised by its difficulty. We can practice honesty, be delighted by, and carefree in our art practice.

Through careful study and hard work, our art becomes more sophisticated. More complex. Desirable. So, let's learn about the Art of Play.

Jana L. Bussanich Art & Yellow Couch is the home of Fine Art painting, instruction, and related services. We create and sell original high-quality Fine Art. Creative design; manage commissioned private, commercial, & public art; online classes; art business coaching. Based in Colorado, USA, serving clients worldwide.