Art Saves • by Michele Lynch
I have always created. It seems to be a part of me as much as breathing. I grew up
as an only child, with an over-active imagination. Art was something I did in my
spare time, filling the days when I couldn’t be with friends. Later after I got married
and had children, I found myself craving some type of expression aside from toys,
diapers, and children’s TV shows. I began creating again during nap times and after
they were asleep. After my kids went to school, I went back to work, once again
doing art only in spare time, never dreaming that it would become a career.
All About the Bottom Line
I took a position as a manager of a corporation, immediately regretting it. It was high pressure. Upper management sucked the joy out of what should have been a very creative job. Like a lot of businesses it became all about numbers. Not about the people that work there, not about the quality of the job well done. It all came down to the bottom line. We were turning in 10% over the year before consistently, which in the economy at the time was a very good increase, but they had a number that they felt we should reach and they pushed and pushed until the sight of the building made me want to whimper. I tried keeping the overwhelming drained feeling from the employees that I managed, but I’m sure they felt it. This particular company chews through managers on an annual basis, so the employees were used to seeing managers come and go. They were used to watching someone new come in full of excitement and ideas and quickly be reduced to a corporation zombie.
I secretly nicknamed the vice president of this company the Soul Sucker. I have never met someone who could walk into a building and you could physically see the change in the employees. He didn’t bring inspiration and leadership, like I’m sure he believes he does. Instead he brought defeat, and the feeling of unending failure. Once again the employees were told how it just wasn’t good enough, they had failed, they were worthless and could be replaced in a minute.
To say it was depressing was an understatement. On the long commute to and from my job everyday I began to invent a story, where an evil Soul Sucker invades a Kingdom of Creativity, taking the princess, prisoner in his castle of corporation, feeding off of the souls creativity and draining them. The song “Uprising” by Muse came on the radio on one of these long commutes and I immediately pictured the Steampunk Souls that escaped from the Soul Sucker and started a rebellion.
Run and Make Art
That night when I got home, I took out a package of Paperclay and made the first steampunk soul Edna, who had escaped the Castle of Corporation and began gathering a small group of rebels. Being able to express my frustration in the form of art was immediate therapy. When the Soul Sucker would come to visit us, I would picture him as I saw him in my imagination, and he never failed to inspire me to create more rebel Steampunk Souls.
I eventually escaped from the castle of corporation, like Edna, and I have been running every since, creating art on a full-time basis. I hope you never meet the Soul Sucker, but if you do, RUN and make art! Art saves!
To learn more about Michele Lynch, michelelynchart.com.