I’m going to say a bunch of things for a minute and you can read them if you’re so inclined. This is a post about positivity. As always, it’s shamelessly self-centered, but this is a personal blog, not a news report, so it’s permissible; just like how clapping at a wedding, not a funeral, is permissible. Enough with the preamble, though. The gist of what I actually want to talk about is below.
Giving someone a piece of art and seeing them enjoy it is honestly the best feeling I think I’ll ever feel. It feels like a little golden sphere of light in my chest starts to get bigger and bigger as the person expresses satisfaction with something I’ve put myself into for their amusement. The sphere molds to fit my frame from the inside out and becomes a more complex shape as the emotion itself increases in its complexity. Intensifying in brightness and feeling like I’m bloating with energy, it begins gasping for air as it finds its way out of my pores to join the rest of the world. A unique tingling spirals down my extremities and I shudder unnoticeably as the energy finds its way out through my fingertips. Upon release, I feel like I’m made of polished bronze sitting in the summer sun. I feel tall, luminous, vindicated, and warm. Aftershocks of that feeling continue to strike throughout the rest of the day, reminding me of the best feature of being human. It’s describable, but barely so.
Yesterday a friend sent me a video of his wife’s reaction upon opening a drawing I did for her on his behalf. Her generous approval of the drawing gave me the feeling I described above. I was eating salsa at the time and that only enhanced the rush (because, you know, salsa is great). It was a 30 second clip; she begins tearing the wrapping paper and catches a glimpse of what it is before she’s able to fully remove all of it. She shoots a look of confusion at the camera, eyes wide in disbelief as she continues to tear. She doubles down on unwrapping it and pulls it out onto her lap. She’s smiling and holding it up for the camera, looking back every few seconds to take the image in again, as she asks him where he got it several times. “It’s awesome” she says, rounding off the clip. I laugh out loud to an empty room and bounce a little in my chair, unconsciously mirroring her positive reaction. It’s all I can do not to tear up a little. It feels so, so incredible to see someone like something I put a little piece of my life into. I shudder silently and the room is suddenly warmer with a reddish orange hue.
It’s these moments that remind me that doing art for others is also incredibly rewarding. Sure, I may take pictures and paint and draw what I like because it’s interesting to me, but allocating my resources to benefit others and having them genuinely appreciate it means I’ve made a difference, regardless of how globally insignificant it is, for someone in the world. That feeling of leaving a definite, positive mark on a moment in time is partially what encourages me to get back behind the lens or in front of the canvas or over the sketchbook again. It’s almost an addiction at this point; I crave that warm bronze feeling and will continue to chase it because there are few things that compare.