Play expands our minds in ways that allow us to explore: to germinate new ideas or see old ideas in new light.
Greg McKeown gives the above definition for play in his remarkable book Essentialism: the Disciplined Pursuit of Less. He follows through with pointing out that the acknowledged great thinkers such as Columbus, Watson & Crick, Mozart and Einstein made their breakthroughs during times of play.
When thinking of artists and play, Liza pops up. From my perspective, Liza Grobler (South Africa) is a visual artist that spends her creative hours having immense fun. Having each had a studio in the same building for a short while, I would often find Liza sitting on the floor of her studio, simply playing. Her studio space was a chaos of colour, textures and pipe-cleaners. I have no doubt that her current studio looks the same. Her playfulness dictates her work. I would love to be more like Liza. She is a prolific artist.
If I am able to recognize what it is to play creatively – as Liza does – why is it so difficult for me to do then? What stands in the way? Don’t all artists ‘just’ play? Am I the lone exception or is it more common that I may think? It’s hard to know, beyond what’s obvious. Does having nursed a countless number of people in their final moments before crossing to the Other Side, count for the obvious? Surely life is altered after experiencing death alongside those you have cared for? Or is it scarred ..?
Even though I know that play is both essential and that it sparks exploration, as does the Essentialist, I find it hard to play.
For more info on the South African artist Liza Grobler visit www.lizagrobler.co.za