Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Idiosyncrasy or Idiosyn-crazy?

When I was in college I had a couple friends who majored in art. They were the real deal, bone-fide artists. They had the paint-stained fingernails and countless random murals to prove it. I love art but have hesitated calling myself an artist. I'm creative and artistic, but someone who called themselves an artist, in my opinion, had actual art to prove it.

As a kid I could never figure out if I actually loved art because of the creative outlet or because it was a platform I could use to gain attention.

One of my first artistic memories was writing a poem in fourth grade. I gave it to my teacher and she was so moved that she read it in front of the class. It was about a snowflake.

What she didn't realize was, in that very act, she was creating a monster.

Day after day, I would rush up to her with a new poem in hand wondering why she was getting less and less enthused with each new creation. Incidentally, she never did read another one of my poems aloud.

During my senior year of college, many of my artist friends attended a Christian conference for artists (ironically it was called 'Arts Conference' which didn't seem very artsy to me). Nevertheless, I wasn't invited. As the cutsey Elementary Ed major I was, apparently my sophisticated 'Ladybug Learning Center' wasn't portfolio material.

They came back with all of these insight about artist's achilles heels- like perfectionism (among other things). I just listened and nodded.

Over the years, as I have taken some artistic risks, I've begun to dabble in photography, charcoal, painting, writing and design... well, it's about time for some self-diagnosis.

I'm afraid I have all the symptoms of 'artist'-itis.

My symptoms are not 'countless random murals' all over the place, no, my symptom is this: Last night I could not sleep.

Let me explain: For the past three weeks I have been working on a big project. It's along the lines of graphic design and publishing... well, kind of. Okay, so really it's just recreating my InterVarsity ministry brochures and newsletter template, partially because I am transitioning into a new leadership role... but also because all these files I had are on my stolen hard drive.

I have spent countless days attempting to just throw something together and be okay with it- but something in me just won't let me do it.

Last night, at 11pm, inspiration struck... why it wasn't at 3 pm when I was sitting at my office desk I don't know... but there I was approaching midnight and with full momentum.


I saved my finished brochure. I like it... a lot! It's been years since I've stayed up all night working on something, let along something I was excited about! I know this has the tinge of 'workaholic' to it... I know... but it's more than that... I identified that all too noticable adrenaline rush that comes with artistic inspiration that kept me from stepping away, even if I wanted too.

The last time I felt that was when I was making this...
for my friend who loves angels.
Hmmm, I wonder if that Art's Conference is still around...


Teri said...

Layla - that angel is so beautiful. Is it charcoal? (Me not being an artist, I can only guess.) Seeing that as an example of the last time you felt the rush makes me really really want to see what you came up with for your brochures. When it's all done, will you send one in our direction?
Meanwhile... you better check out that conference. Go and take students. It will be MUCH more meaningful than when I took two women to Greek Conference. MUCH. Plus, while you're there, you can suggest a new name for their conference.
P.S. Why weren't you invited your senior year?

irene said...

There's an arts conference in June!! You should go, it's right after Regionals.

Blah Blah Blayla said...

teri- you ARE an artist... i've read your writing...been to your parties... seen your scrapbooks (among other things).. yes, the angel is charcoal on paper.. as far as why i think i wasn't invited my senior year-i think maybe for 2 reasons:
1) i was too insecure to self select as an artist
2) my artist friends didn't see me as an artist

.. if only they knew the 'crazy' that was hidden within me.

Blah Blah Blayla said...

tina- are you going???

irene said...

No, but Emily might! http://salt2009.wordpress.com/

Teri said...

Layla! ---- Go!!!

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