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Joyelle: Why I Make Art

My name is Joyelle Brandt, and I am an artist/blogger/songwriter/mommy. Kind of feels like an AA introduction doesn’t it? But I guess that is appropriate, because creating is kind of an addiction for me. I do photography and mixed media art, and I write and record songs. Creativity is my sanity-keeper, through the sometimes long days at home with my 3-year-old son. I love being a mom, it sure beats all the day jobs I had before, but it is also the hardest thing I have ever done. I turn to my art to express myself, to relieve stress, and to remember the person I was before having a child.

I had an opportunity to clarify this for myself last August, when one of the neighbourhood kids was over for a playdate with my son. She’s 8 years old, and seemed fascinated with exploring our house. In particular, my microphone and Digi 003 were quite interesting to her.

“What is this?” she asked.

“My recording equipment.” I responded.

“Why do you have it? What’s your job?”

“Well, mostly my job is being Gabe’s Mom, but I am also recording a CD.”

“So you’re famous?”

This one caught me off-guard. Unsure how to respond I stammered… “Well no, but I’d like to be… Um, I mean not really famous, like those people who are stalked by Papparazzi or anything, but…” How does one explain the concept of an independent musician who creates music for love, and has long since realized that she is not cut out for a touring musician’s lifestyle?

We moved upstairs, where she turned her attention to a multimedia art piece I was working on. Again, the questions: “Did you make this?”

“Yes.”

“So you’re a famous artist?”

Wow. The fame thing again. And I wondered, is this just a natural response for someone who has grown up in our fame-obsessed culture? Is it assumed by today’s youth that to pursue an artistic calling is really a pursuit of fame? Because I’m pretty sure that the majority of creative people have absolutely no interest in fame whatsoever, and in fact many creative people are quite introverted. Finally I found a response: “No, I’m just someone who likes to make things, it makes me happy.”

And that’s really what it’s all about for me. I still have dreams of achieving a level of success that would allow me to make a living through my creative pursuits, but when it comes down to it, I make things, whether they are recordings, art, or otherwise, because it is what I do, because it makes me feel truly alive. When I am creating I feel that flow, the hours slide by me unnoticed and the worries of the day disappear from my consciousness. And I want to have that feeling as much as I can, in every aspect of my life.

My goal is to live my life artfully. Charles De Lint summed it up best when he said “All endeavor is art when rendered with conviction.” Creativity is not limited to artistic expression, although it is often manifested that way. It is a way of thinking, a way of being in the world.

I want to make art out of everything I do, from the way I parent my son, to how I decorate my house, to how I throw a party, to how I paint a canvas. It’s all the same thing. Because at the end of my life, it is not the level of fame or not-fame that will define my life. It’s whether I lived true to myself, whether I made of my life a work of art. So here is to the artful endeavor, and to all the creative people out there. May you live your days beautifully, and find joy in every creation.

Joyelle can be found blogging through the days here. You can listen to her songs here. Some time this year, you can visit her brand-new Etsy shop. She hopes.

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