Matt Clark beachI don’t consider myself an artist. I would have to have created something of genuine value first—something beyond the few shows and stories of which I’ve dabbled. I am also skeptical that “artist” is a title that will ever fit. If anything, I am more of a workhorse. That is, if I can be honoured to gain any mantle, it might as well be that one.

My father is a workhorse. He has worked two full-time blue-collar jobs—often clocking 95 hours per-week (two week’s vacation a year)—for the past two decades. And though we often don’t see eye-to-eye (in fact, we almost never do), I suppose my sensibilities are more similar to his than any everyday theatre folk or goer. This is not to say that I think those who are artists do not work, they do—often far harder than the credit for which they receive. This also doesn’t mean that I don’t love, and am not open to, art, because I am. Art inspires and moves me daily. It’s just that I—Matt Clark—am not that creative. I’m just not. Thus, I don’t consider myself an artist.

I was probably in my twenties when I first went to the theatre—and no, it did not change my life. I thought I could do what was being done, but it was not life changing. I was too busy clocking hours as someone else. In short, before deciding to act I had everything any rational person could hope for: a great family, community, partner, job and salary. I gave it all up for a creative path I suspected could be more meaningful. I traded a truly wonderful life for the hope of another. Point being, I join this Creative Life Blog as an outsider. I don’t know if I am supposed to be here. Through exertion I invaded this world. I am not an artist.

But I do enjoy truth. To me, there is a certain truth in what my father does—in the hours clocked, the calories burned. As a past athlete, there is something substantially honest in the exhaustion reached at the end of a 100-mile bike ride, a 20-mile run, or a 2-mile swim.  Yeah, yeah, it sounds ridiculous… but similarly, what is more moving than seeing a human being fully commit to a want, a need—no reservations or tremors inhibiting that truth? This is the force that inspires me—what I hope to do. Truthful acting can meet at a transformative level—striking to the heart like nothing else. What better pursuit is there than attempting to strike hearts?

I am excited for the Creative Life Blog as it gives me a chance to practice honesty. I love what I do because I can burn calories towards potential resonance beyond the norm. And in the future I hope I can expend as much force towards these pursuits as the equivalent 95-hour working week of my father.

Matt: On the Identity of “Artist” and the Force That Drives Him Forward
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Injuries sustained gave me the break in my monastic athletic routine to self-assess and finally summon the courage to tackle the path for which I thought I was most suited: acting
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