October Prompts for Life & Work
“The most important thing, which is in the doing—integrating your life and your work and everything together.”
Last week I saw the Ruth Asawa show at The Whitney, which is a wonderful, digestible, quietly visceral exhibition. The show is largely a chronicling of Asawa’s daily drawing practice, which both conveys the slow burn of how ideas start, grow, and evolve over time…and how sometimes a dedication to any kind of practice supersedes the subject matter.
Asawa was an art educator, mother of six children, and teacher. There were errands to run, there was dinner to make, there were layered responsibilities beyond the act of art-making. There was a life to uphold. The making was a choice.
It can it be easy to equate art with some sort of inevitability, i.e. the artist who was “born to create.”
But really, to will anything into being is effort and time and prioritization. It is choosing to direct all of the above toward whatever direction you deem valuable. Many of Asawa’s daily drawings were literally what was in front of her eyeballs: a bowl of persimmons, a lock of her infant’s hair, the fold of a suit jacket. And yet it’s about the dedication to showing up—a blind belief that the sum will be greater than its parts.
In Asawa’s words, “The most important thing…is in the doing—integrating your life and your work and everything together.”
For the month ahead, a list of prompts on the merging of these moments—domesticity and creation, the space between responsibility and choice…or some merging thereof.
Prompts for October [this month, a gift for our paid subscribers!]