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What does it mean to be a “Lifestyle Artist?” – John Styn

I used to say, “Just because I don’t play an instrument doesn’t mean I can’t live like a rock star.”
Culturally, we expect people to live within some pretty narrow lines. If you live outside those lines – in appearance, or demeanor, or life path – you are quickly put into another box marked either, “Eccentric,” “Homeless,” or “Artist.”

But “Life as Art” is more than just an excuse to shun the rules and run wild.
Lifestyle Art is rooted the art innovators of the last century. People like Duchamp & Pollack.
Each of these artists stretched the definition of art. To them, “Art” was not an object.

Art was more than paint on a canvas.

More than a sculpted stone.

Duchamp totally fucked up the paradigm when he signed a urinal and entered it into an art show.
Wait…that means it is the IDEA that makes something art.
When Pollack created massive works of kinetic power, he showed that it was the very process, not the finished piece that defined a work.
The hanging pieces on the gallery walls were merely a reminders of the artistic expression that took place as he whipped paint around.
It doesn’t take much to extrapolate this idea into actions beyond those in the studio.
If art is defined by process and idea, then everything can be art.
If an action, choice, or interaction is infused with creative vision, then it is art.
If we can shift our consciousness to this perspective, the world is a canvass. Every word we utter is a paint stroke.
Every step is a performance.
Our very bodies become gallery walls to display whatever we choose.
This is much, much harder than it seems.
Why? Because the world is constantly pulling us into the worn ruts of the status quo.
It takes vigilance and courage to live artistically.
We are so socialized to see “the way things are” as the only way, that we generally do not even see that we HAVE choices.
Of course I’m going to college. Of course I’m buying a home. Of course I’m a fan of the hometown baseball team.
But the Art of our life doesn’t HAVE to be a paint by numbers. The outlines given by the status quo can be ignored.
Living as a lifestyle artist is about gesso’ing over the pre-established picture and creating our own vision of what life can be like.
This can be drastic, or subtle.
A creative, artistic impulse does not have to be grandiose.
Smiling at strangers can be a form of lifestyle art.
So can living according to a dietary philosophy, or environmental creed.
It could mean dressing flamboyantly to confront established gender assumptions.
It could be the way you raise your kids.
It could even look exactly like the status quo life…except for the attitude behind it.
You can even have a house in the suburbs…you just need to find your own way of signing “R. MUTT” on your white picket fence.
Being a lifestyle artist is greeting each day with a child’s eyes and a sense of self that you are the protagonist in an epic myth.
It is clothing your body is a way that your actively CHOOSE to show yourself to the world.
It is simply about using your life path as an extension of a creative vision.
Seeing yourself as an active player in the game, and not just a pawn.
Seeing yourself as a Lifestyle Artist gives you an intense freedom.
It is a “Get out of Jail Free” card for the imprisoning judgment of the status quo.
Any criticism or disdain can be brushed off as easily as a bad review. You don’t like my work? What great artist was not met with criticism? In fact, it can even be taken as proof of our worth. If nobody is pushing back, we clearly are not pushing hard enough.
And the most glorious part of defining your life as art is that nobody can define what good or bad art is, except to themselves.
There is no “Bureau of Good Art.”
In fact, the more personal and more honest we live and express, the more profound our art is.
And when we strive for that type of living, then every step and every word is an act of creation…and therefore infused with the divine.
With that mindset, every porcelain urinal, pink-fur jock strap, and interaction at the gas station can be a part of your life’s masterpiece.

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