I’ve sat on this question for over a week now. Every time I’ve gone to put words down I end up staring into the white abyss of my computer’s soul. I even asked some friends this question, each gave their own scrambled response as best they could to such an ambiguous concept.

Answers ranged from “Art is a reflection of your soul”, to “Art is how souls speak to one another”. Not wrong in any sense, but for some reason, they weren’t exactly what I was looking for.

Maybe if I asked a real artist she could provide a bit more insight into this idea of art and the soul, I thought. So I reached out to Ashley Mary, a Minnesota artist whom I follow on Instagram (@ashleymaryart). Her stuff is pretty abstract and makes me think a bit more whenever I see it across my feed. Who better to connect two abstract ideas, right?

Here’s what she wrote back.

Good question, very ambiguous you’re right! Art can be an act of expression, exploration, claiming, inviting, energy, pause…an act of making something from nothing. I think really anytime you’re making something from nothing, it’s an act of the soul, heart, and mind regardless of your message. It’s a sort of energy birth. The two seem to carry the same mysterious complexities but I’d say the two (art and the soul) are both necessary pieces to what connect us to one another, ourselves, our experiences, our places.

She hit on two good ideas here that I think are pretty important. First, she notes that the act of making something from nothing is an act of the soul, heart, and mind. Maybe this is where originality is born.

Yesterday I alluded that perhaps originality doesn’t exist in any pure form. That we can get infinitely close to it, but never there completely. Ashely seems to have had different experiences in crafting her art. She undergoes an “energy birth” of sorts. In creating something new she draws from all three of her creative sources and lets them guide the way, as it seems she doesn’t quite have a grasp on the full concept either.

As an artist, she’s perhaps more readily able to access the creative centers of her heart, mind, and soul. Yet, she understands that art and the soul both carry mysterious complexities, complexities that connect us to the world. Originality, it would seem, stems from this exploration of the heart, mind, and soul as they relate to ourselves, our experiences, one another, and the places we are connected to.

Her notion that art and the soul are necessary pieces to what connects us to the world is easily relatable. Think of where we draw meaning from. It’s the human connections we have that drive us forward. The communication of our hearts, minds, and souls that make us feel more connected to life. Art expresses those qualities in a visible process that your soul can better understand.

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