Believe It!


this will puzzle the sky (from July 4 to 9, 1987 at 5 by 7 inches) watercolor

    I just wrote this, February 12 to 14.  It was a first version of a belief statement for NPR’s “This I Believe” series. 

    I ended up writing an entirely different piece instead.  Thus, I post this first version here:

I believe in art and in artists. 

I’ve lived my life in a web of unfettered art-making.  One of my mottos is “ABC: always being creative.”  It’s important to work hard and to keep going, not to give up. 

I’ve explored writing, the visual arts and the performing arts.  All are important.  Working in all three areas has helped me to acquire a few hard-won insights. 

Some art forms are more frequently misunderstood or disrespected. The true artist often feels they’re in a “minority” that hasn’t really started to struggle for their rights yet.  They work and sacrifice and may never find any success in their lifetime.

There’s a real divide between fine art and entertainment between the popular and unpopular arts.  They’re like siblings who sometimes get along and sometimes don’t.

But plenty of people from both sides are “in the trenches” so to speak.  It’s always a struggle and a labor of love.  We create because we want to or because we have to.

I believe in art.  A work of art, successfully achieved, enriches the world.  Whether it is known in a small circle, or gets out to everyone, if it’s good that’s great.

It’s important to have a strong sense of quality.  You need to know when things aren’t working and respond in good measure.  You need to be able to critique and edit yourself, to be able to erase, delete or paint over. 

The artist tries to do strong work and limit the amount of failed and mediocre work.  If something doesn’t really work, we try to notice this and act accordingly.

Art can enlarge one’s idea of what it means to be a human being, alive in this world.  It can change one’s perspectives about the ways in which we relate to the world and to our follow people.

Art can wake people up.  It can enliven and re-energize them.

It can help people turn their lives to good and surprising directions.  It’s good for children to be exposed to the arts, both as spectator and participant.

Making art can help convicts, making the time served less painful, and sometimes leading to positive possibilities upon release.

It can help lift the spirits of those who are “down and out” or who otherwise have a surplus of troubles and woe

I believe that art is an under-utilized resource.  If there was a real Renaissance throughout all art-forms at once, that would lead to art playing its truer, better part in society.  Quantity is everywhere.  It can drown out or overwhelm many of the works of quality.  Yet, excellence, originality, magic, beauty and mystery will be noticed eventually.  Quality usually wins in the end.

I believe in artists.

I try to support and encourage my fellow artists as best I can.  Sometimes a little interest, a little dialogue or response, can be very important.

Much art is created is solitude.  People, write, draw, compose, sculpt, paint in their homes or studios.  Others collaborate on films, plays, dances or music.  In either or both directions, it’s important to balance playfulness/play and hard work.

I believe that many artists are experts at solving problems.  It’s often very difficult, getting everything to work in a work of art.  You need to find ways to make things work even with the problems, or to get rid of them as best you can.

I believe that the imagination is like a muscle.  Artists give it constant exercise.

An over-active imagination can become a way of life.  Don’t let your dreams run away from you!  Sometimes you keep running toward them or with them.

Sometimes we can use methods related to art-making to help solve the problems in our own lives.  We can be creative about how we live our lives.

Perhaps we could take yet another leap.  Artists could apply themselves to help come up with some creative solutions to approach some of the problems faces us in real life, in the world.  


They reviewed my essay and decided not to record it for national airplay.  There’s a chance I could do something else with it in the future.  Perhaps, I’ll end up reading it for WDET, our local NPR station.

I did a radio essay for them once, about my drawing all over Detroit’s late, great “Hudson’s Building” (an abandoned department store).  I drew on it mostly in 1996 and 1997.   It was imploded in 1998.

They did post my second essay on the website “This I believe” website.  Their website:

My essay:

4 Responses to “Believe It!”

  1. Don Handy Says:

    Reminds me of two quotes. The first is by Rimbaud: “We know how to live our whole lives everyday.” The second, “Some art we must disintegrate,” comes via Patti Smith.

  2. Mary Greenia Says:

    Your art has made feel every emotion over the years. You are so wise and such a silly kid. Your singing voice blew me away ! Mostly I’m so proud to call you cuz.

  3. Darryl Krikwen Says:

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  4. Art Matters More than Ever! | for art and artists Says:

    […] […]

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