What the Hell is an Aesthetic Experience?

Last week I dug a little bit into the importance of self-expression and finding your truth, something that requires intensive personal work to get an understanding of who you are, what you stand for, and what you want (outside of what others want or expect); then sharing, or expressing, the truth that is YOU, to the world.

And that’s a lot. I’m not going to pretend like this isn’t A LOT to take on. Last fall, I took an entire (AMAZING) course, in order to do just that. During the 8-week, Work Bigger course, what I found among the rubble of my past and the inner workings of my mind is that my personal mission in life is to create aesthetic experiences, that bring people together, tell a story, and inspire the imagination.

So what the hell is an aesthetic experience?

In art school, we learned that aesthetic experiences are something very rarely achieved by artists and creators throughout history. An aesthetic experience is a unicorn. The idea is that an artist has created an aesthetic experience when they’ve created work (any discipline and/or medium) that essentially moves someone to feel extreme levels of pleasure while they connect with the work, effectively inspiring them to be one with the moment.

It’s intense. It’s rare. And it depends heavily on the person.

This short definition given by Sir Ken Robinson is excellent! (Yup. He’s the one who gave this TED Talk.)

I like to think that I had an aesthetic experience when I was just 5 years old. It was September of ’95, my birthday, and I was going with my mom and my aunt to the Springdale 18 Cinema (for the first time ever) to see The Lion King, which had just been released.

#ThingsThatMakeYouFeelOld

I had my popcorn and I was sunk into the big cushioned seat, wide eyed and filled to the brim with excitement. When the movie started it was LOUD. The vibrant sun rose over the great plains of Africa, then drums, birds, music, animals… I remember how much I LOVED it! It is still my favorite Disney movie of all time.

I remember going to my Gram-Gram Katie’s house the next day (where I went often when my mom was working) and instead of watching TV with her, or playing Barbies, that day I dove into a box of Crayolas, whipped out the red-violet, and drew Simba on a sheet of loose-leaf, straight out of her lottery notebook.

And I was set. Everyday that I spent with her after that consisted of me drawing something, writing stories, coloring books, drinking juice, and kind of sort of watching All My Children on her little tube TV.

My experience seeing The Lion King changed my world forever. And the reason I say this was an aesthetic experience, is because somewhere in my mind I am still holding onto that memory – that perfectly aesthetic and empowering moment – and the joy with which it filled me.

To this day, if I hear even the Circle of Life START playing, I sob uncontrollably. Probably with pure satisfaction. While singing along.

pexels-photo-819680.jpegJust some cute ass lions :3

So maybe my idea of aesthetic experience is close to Sir Ken’s, but much more simple than that.

When I say that my mission in life – this one life that I get – is to create aesthetic experiences, I mean that my mission is to create moments, or encounters, or events, that are close to perfect, aesthetically.

My largest focus is in crafting artwork that “completes” a space.

Personally, I take very good care of my space – my work desk, my home, my car, etc. I fill these spaces and places with things that not only go together, but also mean something to me. I’m not trying to make my living room look like an editorial from Crate and Barrel, although, there is merit there as well if that’s what you like, but no, I’m trying to create a space that is a perfect expression of myself and my family.

I’m adding aesthetic appeal to everyday experiences.

charleslewistiffany.jpg

I value aesthetic. Aesthetics make life better. Design and decor are like the sprinkles of life; they don’t necessarily change the flavor of the ice cream, but they make eating it that much more interesting. (Who doesn’t love rainbow sprinkles?!)

Imagine the last hotel you stayed at. Doesn’t matter where.

How was the experience?

Could there have been more amenities? Was there turn down service? Towel animals left in the bathroom?

I’ll tell you about mine…

I went to Chicago last August, for work. When we arrived, there was a special shuttle from O’Hare to the front lobby – compliments of the hotel.

There was a gift shop, a restaurant-bar with excellent interior decorating and service, booku plants, marble flooring, and fountains. We had full sized rooms for a single, with those towel animals I mentioned, turn down service, free WiFi, everything was clean, excellent decor in the room, and a complimentary breakfast with wait staff every morning – and I don’t mean bagels and coffee, I mean scrambled eggs, fruit bar, pancakes, made to order omeletes, hot potatoes, oatmeal… whatever you could possibly want for breakfast. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

And the trip was amazing! All of the little details were touched upon.

Nothing crazy, not the Hilton, not expensive – but someone running the place pays attention to the details – the little things that in my opinion, take an experience from forgettable to exemplary.

Now, my goal in life is not to get into the hotel business. But it’s to help bring those kind of little things – luxuries, sprinkles- to people’s everyday lives. A custom painting in their living room, cute printable table cards for their Friendsgiving, creative decorating tips for your next DIY project, the perfect playlist for your next event… you get the idea.

A while back, when I first started thinking about my side hustle and what I wanted it to be, trying to figure out what it was going to become, I was focused on “the little things”. I even thought I was going to call it Little Things and Company. But because I love to create SO much more than home and office decor, or greeting cards, I settled on the concept of a creative studio, out of which comes this blog, paintings, drawings, printables, quotes, advice, stories, workshops and events, artist spotlights, technique highlights and so so much more. Because I am fired up about life! I’m fired up about what great aesthetics can bring to your daily life, and I am fired up about sharing those little things that I love so much, that make my life better… with you.

So stay tuned… a lot of things are coming your way!

Until next time,
Leah

 

 

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