Being an artist for me is always personal. I never anticipate a time in my life when I would be called an artist but have given this title to myself any time I want to. Having an artistic life at Duke means a lot. To create, to contribute, and to enjoy.
With a cup of coffee with a list of songs, I can just submerge in my drawings or paintings, or sculptures. I remembered the last winter when I looked out from the window, I saw a branch of burning leaves glowing in the dust. I picked up my paper and pastel and caught this second of sensation with my energy. It happens a lot to me. Roaming on the streets, sometimes I intentionally turned my mind off from work and study and let it stray with my sights. When it catches sometime, it will remind me the next time I have my pencil and paper. I think I am just stealing some time to make something permanent, on canvas or paper or clay or films.
Duke is a huge community. Even without large number of art students, you can always feel art involvement in any corner of our campus. I remembered my amazement at the graffiti tunnel from my first visit, and variety of workshops in Arts Annex. Then I joined the Duu Visarts, and that comes my time to contribute. I don’t think there are just those official ways to make contribution. Bring appreciation in art, talking to friends and professors about your fantasy and creativity, you never know when those ideas will be spark in art.
Finally, to enjoy is the key to be an artist. This does not require any education or practice in art. Opening up your heart and let in any sound or color from concerts, museums, galleries. Try to accept the conflicting thoughts and learn why to say that and how to say that through artistic language. It is funny that there is no official definition of art. That means if you do something to an extreme, that thing becomes art. It also means that if you like something, however normal it is, it can become art, since it then embeds a special meaning.