No matter how you express your creativity, relationships with other artists—painters, writers, designers, jewelry makers, hairstylists, dancers—can inspire you and push your art in new directions.
Recently, I wandered through an art exhibit at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the paintings of Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso were placed side by side. The younger of the two artists by more than 20 years, Dalí sought out the already-famous Picasso early in his life. During the periods when Dalí was near Picasso, their artwork greatly influenced each other, with Picasso having an even greater impact on Dalí. Yet each retained his own style, and Dalí used Picasso’s art as a springboard for his own creative work. Their complicated rivalry and relationship spanned their lives. Both pushed the boundaries of an artistic shift in the world and inspired countless other artists.
Dalí and Picasso aren’t the only artists to create symbiotically. Famous artists have always congregated and learned from each other. Ralph Waldo Emerson inspired and mentored Henry David Thoreau—the author of Walden. Thoreau also helped edit and inspire Emerson’s work. Although one is considered the teacher, the relationship was expansive for both artists. Like Dalí and Picasso, both pushed the boundaries of a cultural thought movement.
How to Apply the Lessons of Creative Masters
Listen to the burning desire in your heart. What’s your craft? Your expression in the world? Is it your life’s work? Is it art? The beautiful melody of words or music? Or brilliant colors splashing from a paintbrush in your hands? Is it yoga? The graceful movements of the human body? Do you want to build? Create space? A home? Create healing? Spread a message of love? Don’t think about how. Let go of your mind and self-critiques. Move from that space.
Seek those living a similar expression. Read the biographies of those you admire and share your passion with others. Join a group or attend events. Find a mentor and let the shared energy inspire growth in both of you.
Build your tribe. Multiply and grow in community, tied together with a common thread. Notice and learn from your differences. Use this fuel to open your mind and create beyond your individual self.
Allow these relationships to spur your creativity. The bond of a shared path may sometimes feel challenged and inspired. Competitive. Open. Admirable. Supported. Defiant. Complicated. Passionate. It’s all creative fuel.
Join the creative whole. Your expression no longer belongs to you alone. You are creating from a space of sharing, transmission, and expansion—carrying out your heart’s work and letting it open you to a greater expression that goes beyond your separate self. This is the space of the Masters—where global change occurs, art pushes the boundaries of expression, and thought movements re-shape the world.
Give back. For anyone who has found this space of energetic and artistic bond with another—don’t let the secret stay locked in your own connection. Go forth with that spark and encourage those with the same expressive imprint as you. Throw fuel on their fire and watch it re-transform your own.
The teacher in me honors and bows to the teacher in you. We are all teachers. We are all students.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user donight.
Outer truth-seeking journalist turned inner truth-seeking yogi, Nicole Harris now writes freelance and teaches yoga. Her practice on the mat began in Minnesota in 2011 and eventually led her to teaching in Florida. Her true passion is to cultivate awareness and live from that honest, real space as much as possible. She finds her quickest ways to get there are through nature, adventure, and travel. The deepest way is through a meditative yoga practice.