That Space Called Imagination

This week we asked COMPAS visual artist Heidi Jeub to share a reflection on what it means to be an artist... and a teaching artist. Thanks, Heidi!

I woke up this morning realizing that my path to being an artist wasn’t obvious. I was never a kid that declared “Artist” as my future career. Yet I often reflect on the artist in me as a young girl making machines out of shoeboxes and TP rolls at the age of 6, or creating a designer magazine of copy paper and colored pencils at the age of 12. Artistry wasn’t a thing we talked about or considered as important… it just was there.

I reflect on many moments like these, because there is tangible evidence that they existed. There may be more hidden on the shelves of my childhood home, or in the journals of my college years, but I do not think that was really where the “Artist” came to surface.

If instead I look at the intangible aspects of being an artist, it looks differently. I was an artist in the way I saw the world and how it could be. I looked at the sky and wanted to play with the clouds. Hearing music not only made me want to dance, it made me want to get up and move the air around me. I become aware of the society we lived in through history and sociology, seeing its imperfections but as an artist, I always see its potential. As I raise three beautiful kids, as an artist, I know hearing, breathing, seeing the details in our daily lives, means that life will never be mundane.

Yes, I hang things on walls; mix color to create a feeling; bind pages together to make books; bring people together to solve problems creatively. These actions leave behind something, which is good. But production of objects is not the only thing in an artist’s life.

When I’m working with children, I see the space surrounding the instruction and production as imagination.  Often kids (and adults alike) are looking for the right way to do something, and I try to acknowledge that desire, but shift their intentions into that space of Imagination, so that skills and technique can be applied where needed.

Every time I step into a classroom I have a lesson to teach, yet there are lessons learned that I cannot put into writing, but I know the kids discover when I leave. They may go home with an object, but I hope they acquired a tool: creativity, and all that intangible good stuff that goes with it!

-Heidi Jeub

Learn more about Heidi's work with COMPAS on her artist page.