Blog: Christine's Lexicon

Christine Alfery

Posted on May 31 2020

Blog: Christine's Lexicon

Lexicon: the vocabulary of a person, language, or branch of knowledge

The words I use often are my vocabulary – my lexicon. As I grow, think, create, imagine, these definitions change, build, come and go. For now, these words are part of my lexicon: creativity, different, original, unique.

 Creativity

Creativity is the link between me and an idea. 

Like dust particles I think there are many ideas floating around in the atmosphere. Like invisible angels they touch us and sometimes we grab hold of those ideas and create something from them. 

Today the sun is shining through the windows of my studio. The crystals I have hanging there create rainbows flowing over all the surfaces of the room. That is how I think about ideas – ideas are the rainbows and when one of them lands on me it sends sparks through me. Sometimes those sparks stay, and sometimes they don’t. When they do, they grab hold and I know they need to be brought to life.

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Perhaps these ideas have been used before but when that idea plants itself in your heart and mind it becomes as unique and original as the individual. 

I often tell people visiting my gallery “Sometimes I think the spirit of Miro is floating around me in my studio. Some of his ideas that he was unable to create and bring to life – he plopped them into my heart and mind and I created this work as a consequence.”

You have a unique voice that needs to be created. You collaborate with creativity and make the idea. The heart of life - for me that is God - is what faith and spirit are all about. I am a product of creation and it is my purpose to pass along these ideas of creation and creativity.  I am a created work, and the work I create is authentic and not copied.

 Different

If you have the kind of mind that embraces thinking differently about ideas, then you will take a simple idea that everyone understands and think differently about it. Let’s use the example of the concept of dog. It is an animal, normally has four paws, two ears, a tail, etc. But how can one embrace and think differently about dog? Perhaps the dog is purple. Not a far-off idea today since there are people and dogs walking around who have purple hair these days - but 30 years ago, that was a different idea.

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The concept of different does not necessarily mean new or shocking – although it could be - but those words not a required element of the word different. I prefer to think of the word differently like purple dogs. It just means that it is not the same – it is distinct.   

When a creator/artist uses their difference and creates something, their work is authentic, unique, one of a kind. 

 Original

The concept of original is often debated and discussed. There are many who think there is nothing left to be original - everything is a copy, just another copy from a different time and place.

Many think of “original” as “new”. New drove the concept of art for a long time. The shock of the new was what made something “original”. This concept drove artists to try and come up with something that had never been tried before. New/Original had to be shocking or your idea was deemed commonplace and unworthy of creation. I disagree – art does not need to be shocking or new to be original.

I have been trying to think of a different word, a different concept that could replace the idea of “original” in the art arena but haven’t really landed on one yet. I do like the word authentic. To me, authentic in the art world is something created by an artist who wasn’t afraid to express themselves in their work. When you view an authentic work, you see and feel the artist/creator in the work. You sense them – their genuine unhidden uniqueness. The work was not created to please the viewer, rather the artist/creator created the work because it gave them pleasure, no matter what the context of the work is.

Yes, I like the word authentic to replace the word original in describing art. Genuine runs a close second.

Unique

This one is simple - it is one of a kind, unlike anything else. 

Unique can be a combination of original and creativity. If an artist has an idea and wants to create it but the idea has been thought of before (for example – painting flowers) how can that idea be unique? If the artist who created is authentic and genuine when they create, that work will be unlike anything thing else - it is one of a kind, it is unique. If the artist can be honest and true to themselves, if they can be genuine in presenting their idea, that creation can’t help but be unique.

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