When considering the everyday in art we have to remember that what constitutes the everyday as such is not merely the banal or mundane in recurrent activities and physical things associated with those behaviors but the very mindset, the state and the employment of thought as they relate what one is actually doing. It is the frame of mind that guides us into an inquiry of not only what the everyday consists of but also how we may go about engaging with it in more and more meaningful ways.
In some sense, one could say that the everyday is often associated with a state of mind that is rather lackadaisical. It is, in that manner of thinking, precisely those moments when our attention has become habitual. But what if we were to think of the everyday anew. What if the everyday was not simply the banal and mundane but also the miraculous and wonderful? And what if it was our attention and attitude that we could intentionally take up in order to engage more fully with aspects of life that all too easily get taken for granted.
This is precisely where the art is the craft of life mentality comes to life. We find such things as posture, daily, habitual movements, eating and sleeping patterns and media consumption to name a few, become opportunities to reinvigorate our life experience rather than dulling or even nullifying it in taking to what it is life calls upon us to do. Andy Puddicombe, the founder of Headspace, talks about this and how the practice of meditation can help us to awaken to these daily activities through becoming more aware and present. The everyday in this way transforms as we illuminate it more fully with our consciousness of it.
What I have been saying is let’s add a further level or lens to it, one that is also deeper in our psyche and that is the quality of creativity or artistic nature to this process of connecting more fully with life itself. That is why I have been looking at this notion of art as the craft of life. It is not only an adaptation of meditational exercise for the mind, soul and body as well but also a kind of valuation of the nature of life as something innately and essentially artful.
This has been leading me to develop guided meditations of my own that puts an emphasis on this idea of artistic creation within the meditation and thus everyday life. This is similar as I have learned to what Josephy Beuys, an artist active in the 1970’s, had to say about an idea called social sculpture and also who said that everyone is an artist. By this he did not mean that everyone could paint but that rather very similar to what I have been formulating, everything one does in daily life is art. That has been my understanding.
As I have stated before, and I continually work out versions and variations of this philosophy to get to as clear and fundamental formulation as possible, the idea of meditation is a model for the individual to become more primed for art to be the craft of their life. Along with that, conversation is a model for how to engage more fully in a social way to stoke one another’s fires and raise the common intellect. Dialogical Art which speaks of the use of dialogue in practice is one example of a term that speaks to this notion.
Other variations may emerge as studies go further. These are fundamentals though. It seems pretty simple at first, the meditation and conversation that is, however these two practices are immensely robust and diverse and bring forth an infinite variety of knowledge and discovery in their practice. They are practices that can be strengthened over time as well which just amplifies in positive ways that combination of mundane and miraculous in everyday life.