The accidental artist – part three

More conservative minds deprive coincidence of meaning by treating it as background noise or garbage, but the shape-shifting mind pesters the distinction between accident and essence and remakes this world out of whatever happens.*
(Lewis Hyde)

we’re not seeing all the things we’re not learning, not engaging with, not creating, because we’re so busy learning like it’s 1904**
(Seth Godin)

In the first and second parts of my accidental artist posts, I was thinking about how important it is to be a participant rather than an audience member, and being open to and paying attention to the “noise” of distraction.

The thing is, the more we participate the more we become artists because we are being open to all that is, not some limited essence of is-ness, and we are learning how to be playful.

In his lovely children’s story and (adult fable) The Dot, Peter Reynolds has his protagonist Vashti exclaiming to her teacher:

I just CAN’T draw!^

Here’s how the story unfolds:

Her teacher smiled.

Just make a mark and see where it leads you.

Vashti grabbed a felt-tipped pen and gave the paper a good, strong jab.


Her teacher picked up the paper and studied it carefully.


She pushed the paper towards Vashti and quietly said, Now sign it.^

As the story continues to unfold, Vashti finds that her teacher has framed her dot and hung it on the wall. Vashti finds herself thinking she can do better than that and begins to draw and paint all manner of dots, even one without a dot.

The story tells me of how a distraction can become our art.

Someone has commented on my posts that they can never understand them and now they just skip over them.

That’s okay, you can’t distract everyone, but for those willing to explore the noise, the accidental and the distractive, there’s a whole new way of looking at things open to us.

(*From Lewis Hyde’s Trickster Makes This World.)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog: Computer education is an oxymoron.)
(^From Peter Reynolds’ The Dot.)

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