When I opened Soulpancake yesterday and saw that this was the question I had to answer, I let out a little groan and closed the book. I failed to do this yesterday due to a mixture of my crummy cold and natural aversion to the word art.

I’ve never felt like an artist. I still draw stick figures, poetry does not flow through my veins, and the only paintings I’ve done have been through following YouTube videos. Art has always seemed so abstract to me that I’ve dismissed it for most my life.

Through middle school, we would have a segment every month on learning about different pieces of art. We’d have the chance to make our own inspired pieces, and then go see each of them in person at the museum downtown. This is the most involved I’ve been with art, and recalling it now makes me want to dive back in.

Since then, I’ve been to multiple world-renowned museums. While the exhibits are all immensely impressive, I haven’t felt like I was able to fully appreciate them. I’d walk past masterpiece after masterpiece without so much as knowing what era they were from let alone who the artist was. I felt overwhelmed by the vastness of the galleries where every minute spent in one chamber was a minute lost in another.

Although the famous works of art are all wildly fascinating and humbling to experience in person, I would rather dive deep into a piece and learn the intricacies of its creation. I was in an art village just this week and being able to examine each creation up-close and personal with the artist in the same room proved to be more meaningful to me than passively viewing inside a museum.

Their art was a story. That’s what art is to me. A creative journey that one takes in crafting a piece that holds meaning. Although the YouTube paintings I did are quite childish and below a level that I’d feel comfortable even calling art, I still hold a sense of pride with each one.

I never knew how the end result would look. Through the process, I would make mistakes. I would play with different colors, tones, looks, and feels. My emotions swayed with each brush stroke, I watched a story unfold in front of me. A story I didn’t know was inside me perhaps, but one that needed to come out.

Art is a form of communication. One that is more descriptive and connected than language. One that everyone can understand. Art comes from a place inside of us that can best be described through art, and it speaks to that same place when viewed by others. Art is an alternative way of seeing the world.

The story in art is where it’s meaning is held. Diving into that story has been the source of my appreciation for art.

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