About your creative identity...

Several years ago I walked around the VAG (round of applause for theVancouver Art Gallery and their hedonistic acronym creations) with my half-crippled boyfriend at the time who'd fallen and slid down a steep hill of roots and ice during his bike race the day before, so as I gently herded this mustachioed scab around the museum, my attention was hijacked by some photos on the wall, and that was the moment when I abandoned my boyfriend to die,  so I could stare at these images and descend into a deep appreciation for the artist, whose name is buried somewhere in my grove of illegible journals.

Her self-portraits were a study on the idea of posturing, so in each photo, she assumed a different identity - a goth in leather, a dandy, an elderly woman pushing a shopping cart, a male taxi driver, a woman in bondage, the impoverished, the glamorous, etc. In each image, she played her unmistakable role.

Back in my art school days, multiple professors would punt the following existential question to a classroom of angsty bumpkins - What is art?

We, of course, didn’t have an intelligent answer, but neither did the profs. The question is so complex that even great thinkers attempt to define it by talking around it:

Susan Sontag says, “All great art contains at its center contemplation, a dynamic contemplation.”

Kafka says, “In art, one must throw one’s life away in order to gain it.”

Susan Langer says, “The aim of art is insight, understanding of the essential life of feeling.”

Wanna know how our anonymous crossdresser in the VAG defined it?...She said:

Art is pointing. Look at this. Look at this. Now look at this.



When I talk/write about beautiful bios, I’m referring to an art form that points at something - mainly your creative identity. Meaning, the way you posture and present yourself as an artist, a thinker, a "creative," a business person. I'm referring to how you communicate your ideas, beliefs, and wisdom...and anything else you wish to add.

So I encourage you, as you write/re-write your bio (or any content) to think very hard about what you’re pointing at. Does it matter?


And what would you like to point at instead?


Caroline Mays