Friday, July 15, 2016

Life After Art - Matt Appling

Life After Art
Title: Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room
Author: Matt Appling
Publication Date: 3/15/13
Pages: 160
Genre: Faith / Nonfiction
How I Found It: It's been on my TBR a long time
Date Completed: 5/26/16

Summary: We all were artists as children. So what happened? Why do we not exercise those creative muscles as adults?

What I Thought: I loved this book. It reiterates so much of what I teach in my Intro to Humanities course. We are all created to be artists. God, as our Creator, made us in His image. Therefore, creativity is an innate part of our being. We all can create in different ways, even when it seems like a long forgotten part of our person.

Appling proposes that three things happen on the way to adulthood. 1) Creating things stops being a priority, 2) we realize our limitations, and 3) we get lazy. As an elementary art teacher, he's in a good position to watch kids make these transitions. 

His writing is simple, but so on point. 

Appling writes from a Christian perspective, but I really think this book could be applied and enjoyed by anyone. Even if you don't believe your creativity stems from a divine source, you probably can still recognize the joy you felt creating as a child and how that is missing in your adult life.

I particularly enjoyed Appling's discussion of quality in what we create. He poses the question, Is what you're making good or just good enough? At what point do we learn only to do enough to get by, rather than truly putting out our best work every time? Since reading the book, I've found myself asking this question many times. It's my biggest take away from the book and something I want use to start challenging my own work.

The book is really short. You could read it in a day or read the short chapters in small bits, soaking in their inspiring ideas one segment at a time. I would have loved to see Appling dig in a bit deeper, particularly since so many of his ideas are familiar to me, but this is a great starting point for anyone wanting to return to a more creative life.

Quote I Loved: "No matter what kinds of kids you and I were, whatever we enjoyed doing, chances are we were at our best when we were creating something."

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Yes
If You Liked This, Try: Out of Sorts / For the Love / Visiting Tom

A Reduced Review: Perfect for anyone who wants to rediscover or jump start their innate creative side.

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