One way or another, I've always been involved with art.
My favorite activity as a child was to completely lose myself in drawing, of either objects before my eyes, or visions from my imagination. Many entire days were spent happily on page after page of drawings.
As a teenager I loved literature and poetry, but most of all I loved the pure art of creating just the right combination of words to transmit to another person a unique meaning, a mental state, an emotional experience. Communication itself is an art, though neglected as such by most.
When I was seventeen I suddenly became deeply involved with the art of the piano, with no prior experience and no traditional support. That involvement and serious study continue to this day.
I've studied ballet for years, and still give myself class at home, in part for the demanding exercise, but also to maintain and deepen a relationship with ideal forms of movement and a tradition of expression by direct means of the body developed across hundreds of years.
I studied acting intensively for several years, including many different approaches, and traditional as well as improvisational modes. At a certain point I realized, and it was made clear to me, that I was a truly excellent actor. But the life of an actor repels me, so I continue to love acting, while avoiding the profession.
You might think that with all this involvement in art that I took art seriously, but I certainly did not. Art was what I did, always, because I needed to.
It is only in the past few years that the importance of art has become clear to me:
Art is a library of important ideas.
Art is a gateway to new mental and emotional states.
Art is a means of rising above yourself and your petty personal concerns.
Art is a means of discovering and remaining aware of possibilities beyond the mundane.
Art is personal transformation that's much less expensive than therapy, and much more fun.
Art is a way of reminding yourself & others that the way things are is not the way things must be.