This I Believe

Justin - West Valley, Utah
Entered on November 19, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: creativity

Who is the true artist?

As a holder of a fine art degree, I sometimes find myself questioning the validity of calling myself an artist. I am simply a hand in manipulating what already exists. How can I “create” art when what inspires my work, in fact, was already created? I recently journeyed to the Spiral Jetty, a landscape sculpture done by Robert Smithson in the Great Salt Lake. As I drove down the rocky dirt road, I found myself continually stopping to take pictures and absorb my surroundings. When I arrived at the jetty I felt as though I had entered another realm. The simplistic beauty of the spiral was but one stroke of the brush on a giant canvas. The royal sky was filled with menacing storm clouds that provided the perfect backdrop to the golden yellow hills that were in just the right spot to catch the last rays of the sun. The glowing grass was dotted with sunflowers and black basalt boulders. As the hill approached the lake, the boulders congregated and met the stark white beach. This beach was not made of sand. It was made of luminous salt crystals. Layer upon layer of salt, dropped off by thick water, covered everything in its reach. The lake, a vast sea of deadness, contradicted itself by glowing bright pink. Yes, pink. I was standing in the middle of one of the most astonishing works of art I had ever beheld. At this point I knew. I knew that I am not an artist. I only push and pull at what already is. And so it was when Cezanne painted landscapes and Michelangelo sculpted figures. They, like me and any other re-creators, were inspired and driven by the true artist, the actual creator of this world. As the arts struggle to maintain validity in a world focused on academics, it gives me comfort to know that among all of His knowledge of the sciences, His mastery of mathematics, and His feats of engineering, God is also an artist.