All We Need is Love

[WARNING: This post might get passionate.]

As artists, creatives, societal deviants of the highest order, we all want to mock this holiday, spurn the commercialized celebration of red and pink-laced love.

But as artists, creatives, societal deviants of the highest order, we need this day most of all.

Why?

Because love is art.

And the creation part is where we step in.

Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.

-Leonardo da Vinci

Last week I illustrated the cyclical nature of creativity, that life must birth art before art can gift us life.

To breathe life into our art, we first need to mold it from dust, from the dust we kick up along the way in our stories.

Story must be lived out before it can be written out.

Think about it: We read novels with strong-willed, gutsy characters, men and women willing to risk everything for what they want most. Sir Lancelot. Macbeth. Jo March.

And we read biographies of flesh and blood heroes, men who charged into battle, women who marched against the grain. Bonhoeffer. Amelia Earhart. Nelson Mandela.

At the root of it all, they all fought for love.

The love of a woman, the love of a man, a child, a memory, a country, a cause.

To live a good story worthy of the fireside, we need to emulate these legendary men and women in their pursuit of love. It’s vital to our living, breathing stories, and it’s vital to the stories we pen on paper.

And artists know this. Love is at the heart of every great novel, song, portrait, riff, screenplay.

Love of her, love of him, love of God, of words, of song, of rhythm, of color, of texture.

At the root of every masterpiece lies a longing for connection. Divine connection, human connection, we all long to connect with each other.

We all long for love.

And if art is love, then as artists, it’s our job to create as much love in the world as possible, both on and off the canvas.

If you call yourself an artist, if you call yourself a writer, a singer, a drummer, a photographer, a painter, an actor, a dancer, a blogger, a cook, you have no excuse. You need to be creating love as if you’re life depended on it.

Because your art depends on it.

But somehow along the way, we’ve forgotten this.

We’ve become fixated on the image of the suffering bard, etching away with a feather quill by candlelight, cold and tormented and lonely.

So we slave away in studios and offices, allowing our personal lives to crumble, our personal relationships to disintegrate all for the sake of our art.

But as Jeff Goins said:

The pain and plight of the artistic life is too romanticized. The truth is that art and suffering are closely connected, but not dependent on each other. Art exists in spite of pain. As an artist, you should always be rebelling against injustice, always pushing back darkness.

Reject the image of the romantic poet. It’s no way to work, to create, to live.

Love is counter-intuitive. If we push love and life to the foreground, our art won’t suffer.

It will flourish.

Now begins a new generation of artists. 

Artists who live out fulfilling life stories, artists who create with maddening genius, and artists who, first and foremost, call themselves lovers.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends.

Don’t limit your love to romance and diamond jewelry.

Humanity is in need of a radical sort of love.