Are you an artist? It's up to you.
I can't cook to save my life, but I'm obsessed with a cooking show.
A few weeks ago, I heard about a new Netflix show called Chef’s Table, a docu-series on some of the best chefs in the world. While food isn’t my thing, the show was popping up everywhere I looked: in news articles, in conversation with friends, on blogs I read. My interest was piqued! With JJ on a work trip, it was the perfect opportunity to fill my nights with a little Netflix action.
During the first episode, I fell in love with collaboration between the chef, Massimo Bottura, and his wife Lara. Massimo describes his wife as one of the biggest secrets to his success. *swoon* They work together at their world-famous restaurant and say they inspire each other to this day. Each one of them brings beauty to their product: one the creative vision, the other the insight and motivation to push them forward through tough times.
When the episode ended, it took all my effort to not hit the “Play next episode”button. But it was 9:00pm, which you know is right about my bedtime. :-)
Last night, I finally got around to watching the third episode, on chef Francis Mallmann, and it rocked my world again, but in a totally different way. Set in Patagonia, the episode follows Francis, an Argentinian chef, around the wilderness while he cooks fascinating meals with his team. (The cinematography is breathtaking!) In a particularly moving moment, Francis shares that what drew him to his profession as a chef is the theater of food: the table full of flowers, the light given off by candles, the sound of people laughing, the music playing, the aromas set off by the plates he serves. And it’s this kind of theatrics that he recreates all over the world, usually outdoors.
Watching these two incredible chefs, I was reacquainted with my love of artistry.
Before watching the Chef’s Table, it never ocurred to me that a chef could be such an artist. Forgive me of my ignorance. Food isn’t my specialty, by any means. I once dined at the world’s best restaurant, left incredibly hungry, and ate a McDonald’s burger about an hour later. Oops? But after watching the show, I felt incredibly inspired despite my indifference to fine food. That’s when I realized...
As I watched Massimo and Francis compose their meals, I was struck by how they approach their craft, for example:
- Thinking out-of-the-box, using tools and methods that most people wouldn’t dare
- Nonconformity, most notably when it comes to other people’s opinions of their work
- Attention to detail, demanding the best from themselves and their team
And most importantly:
- Pleasurable creativity, designing and building from their soul instead of their thoughts
So, I wondered about myself: am I an artist? Well, sometimes.
If I approach my craft from a place that is fearless, soulful, and purposeful, I know I’m an artist. If I approach it from a place that is hurried, nervous, and doubtful, I’m definitely not.
When I’m an artist, I create from my soul, with no thoughts distracting me. Rather than worrying about what people may think or wondering if it’s any good, I’m in a place of “no mind.” I create what my soul feels needs to be created.
The difference is subtle. If you watch me at my desk, you’ll have no idea which state I'm in. But I can tell, and there’s one word that sums it up: