This Thing We Call Art

Chakra Series 2: Letting Go ©NicholeDonjé


What is it really? This thing we call art. I have had so many opinions on it over the years. My disagreement with some concepts and executions. Truly though, as I begin with an open mind. What is art?

I think art is more than the forms we see or performances we experience. I heard recently that art is often the artist themselves. That struck me. One of my focuses as a theatre artist has always been on the process, the artists themselves, the creation of the work and what happens within that as much as the final experience.

Many don’t have the inside seat on the relationships and personalities at play behind the scenes. So much of what makes art good or bad (in each and all’s opinion) is founded in the process; the sharing and shaping of the the work. The vision is a piece but not all.

Since I have been revisiting my visual art and writing, I see it again. So much is in the process. In the heart of what is being created and why. The outcome may not appeal to everyone but there is life in it, at least for those who take it seriously. I have seen this over the years repeatedly. What is the difference from one thing to the next. Why do I love this dance piece or that. Its all perspective.

Some people truly see only the technique and appreciate it above all else. Some see through that and find the personality, the essence of the work. For myself I most certainly prefer the latter. I have seen my fair share of perfectly executed art; dance, theatre, photography, literature, etc. I certainly appreciate every aspect of it. The talent and skill required is astonishing. However I have found myself often bored with perfection( so why is it that I often strive for it?).

What pulls me in and excites me is the collaboration. To me fantastic art includes its audience. It leaves an open door for them to walk through, to explore and to leave filled up with inspiration, emotions, ideas, whatever. Its not my place to judge that. Even as the artist, I have an intention but it is my intention alone. If an observer leaves with something different, perhaps somehow the work took a step beyond the itself. If they find something personal and unique, how spectacular is that! There is nothing better than art that grows beyond its own boundaries.

So as I sit here contemplating about what is next for me. I am letting go of what it is I “think” I should do. I am entering my creative experience as an observer of self willing to to find something different. I am releasing shoulds and musts. Embracing the simplicity of color and space, of heart and mind, of light and touch. I am confronting the simple DO to see what happens.

This is a whole new experience for me outside the theatre. It’s time to take those skills I gained and spread the wealth, to find the the connective thread that moves me. Its time to allow myself to be the art, expressive and free. As we all should.



Author: Finding True North

Nichole Donje is an interdisciplinary artist, activist, and leader. A philosopher and self-exploration addict, Nichole is currently working on two books of art and poetry FINDING TRUE NORTH and LIFE POEMS. She is a visual artist and photographer. Nichole founded and ran the highly regarded New York City based independent theatre company TAPT from 2006-2016. Serving as TAPT’s Artistic Director, Nichole worked diligently to support new and forgotten works that help shape the way we view the world around us. A recognized leader, Nichole served three terms as Vice President of the Board of Directors for The Players. Currently, she chairs both the Communications and Theatre Committees which she established. The Players celebrates the rich cultural life of New York City with exclusive member-only events that include live performances, readings by leading authors and playwrights, film screenings, and dining in its famous Grill Room. More information about The Players may be found at A key influencer of the Players current revitalization she has become an advocate for the art and livelihood of a social club. The Players not only honors yesterday’s and today’s luminaries of the performing arts but also reminds us of the necessity of building face to face relationships. Nichole is a member of SAG-AFTRA, LPTW/League of Professional Theatre Women, LeanInNYC, and The Players.

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