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The Known • by Denise Sharp

Denise Sharp Paying Attention
I had an art professor who was captivated by the idea of twins. Doppelganger means to “walk twice” and he believed that through art we make ourselves, we make our own twin that embodies our values. Through the act of working we discover something simultaneously about the physical object/world and our internal world. I think of him often and of a specific afternoon class where we sat in the sunshine and discussed this interesting idea at length. He asked that, more than anything else, we pay attention to this process of making art (and our twin), so I tried.

Learning About Ourselves
I think we do learn a lot about ourselves through art making and in the many years since that conversation I have come to know a few things (for and of myself). I know that art making unfolds you and that it is only once you can quiet your inner critic that this can happen. I know that art making is not dependent on the end product and that art can be of anything or nothing at all. I know that art making can reconcile internal imbalance. It is dynamic and interactive and can bring understanding and clarity. Art making can churn thought, nudge doubt, and encourage your own evolution. I know that the more you put into the process the more transformative it can be. It can help usher you through little disappointments, big heartbreaks, illness, and everyday worries. Art making can be the simple tether in a storm and also an act of tremendous celebration and humble gratitude.

Making Art
I know that art making is an itch that is embedded in you and you have little choice but to scratch it. It can be such an essential core of oneself that it is one of the paramount things you value and the primary way you connect with others, the way you give of yourself. Art making can be the most intimate way to share with your children things and experiences that are too mercurial to voice. It can be the way you foster forgiveness and demonstrate love to yourself and your most beloved. Art making can sustain you and is nothing short of vital.

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