Art is a truth inside of us
which we release to the world
with the hope that it might
also be someone else’s truth.
The people who share our truth become our community, which fills our human need for a sense of belonging and purpose. When others do not understand our art, we miss out on connecting with other human beings. For this reason, many artists struggle with loneliness and depression.
And from this, a desperate need for perfection is born. Every shape must be in its place. Every brush stroke must be deliberate in its intention. The texture must be just so. Our truth is at stake. Our acceptance. Our humanity. Our ability to thrive. To us, it is life or death.
Two years ago, I attempted to make edible art to donate to a fundraiser. This art I was making would be representing me to a large group of people, most of whom I barely knew. I wanted to make a good impression. I wanted them to like me. I needed to connect with them. True to my tendency towards perfectionism, I spent too many hours over-thinking my process and fussing over certain details which, in the long run, would not affect the final product. As a result, my project was not finished in time to be donated as I had promised. I was devastated and feared for my credibility on my own subject of expertise. It was not a good day.
Since then, I have discovered an important distinction between precision and accuracy in the context of art: Precision is unforgiving in its execution. It is either correct, or it is not. It is a scale model of a building with every rivet and window exactly in place. Accuracy refers to the artist’s ability to convey their intention while taking creative liberties. Perhaps the model is neon green and not to scale, but the viewer can still identify the building as the Space Needle because of its iconic shape.
Art does not need to be precise to convey a feeling or an intention. Art can be Accurate without being Precise. Art, by its very nature, is imperfect.
And suddenly, I felt a thousand pounds lighter
because my art no longer needed to be perfect.
I could breathe.
And with that, I began experimenting. This past holiday season, in time for the same fundraiser I had failed two years ago, I introduced myself to the world of construction gingerbread. While the original piece was not stable enough to make it to the fundraiser for Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, someone saw photos of the piece and ordered their own. Because while it may not have been perfect, it looked enough like a parrot for enthusiasts to appreciate it.
Yes, that is a dinosaur in our Christmas wreath. Because we’re nerds. And birds are really just tiny dinosaurs. See? We’ve got a whole theme worked out!
Merry Christmas, and to all a Pretty Bird!