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The Work-as-Art Assessment

A few posts ago I talked about the need to balance the basic characteristics of good design if we want to embrace our work as art. The five key art elements, and their corresponding qualities were:

  1. FORM (depth, dimension)
  2. COLOR (vitality, passion)
  3. COMPOSITION (balance, proportion)
  4. PERSPECTIVE (focus, direction)
  5. FRAME (alignment, boundary)

Sounds good, but how do you give real meaning to these admittedly intangible qualities? What’s the starting point in bringing more of each of these to your current work?

You have to somehow relate them to your current reality. Otherwise, they’re pretty words and poetic concepts left hanging in the ether without some sort of tether to our daily goings-on.

So I thought: how about a simply self-assessment that brings these things home in a relevant way? I came up with 10-item, dirt simple evaluation that couldn’t be any less scientific. (Hey, we’re talking art, not science!)

Read each of the 10 statements below, asking yourself, “Is there a ‘yes’ in my heart?” Check each ‘yes,’ then give yourself one point for each.

FORM (depth, dimension)

  • My work is a way of expressing my creativity.
  • My work allows me to learn, grow and develop.

COLOR (vitality, passion)

  • My work fully engages and energizes me.
  • I look forward to performing my work each day.

COMPOSITION (balance, proportion)

  • My work integrates my personal interests, values and priorities.
  • My work allows me to meet the important needs of those in my life.

PERSPECTIVE (focus, direction)

  • I make a valuable and worthwhile contribution through my work.
  • I have a clear sense of what I want to accomplish.

FRAME (alignment, boundary)

  • My work challenges are well suited to my talents and abilities.
  • My work connects me to something bigger than myself.

Now, a simple application elementary school grading: If your total is 8 or above, GOOD! You definitely view your work as art! Less than 8 means you need to bring more of yourself to your work or find value in the activities that dominate your day. And of course, the lower the number, the farther you are from finding your work with a capital W.

Again, no science…just a bit of good ‘ole Kentucky windage to help us get our bearings.

How’d you do?