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Artists May Be Like Athletes…But Art is Not

Athletics Meets Art in the Form of Mario Lemieux (Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins)

Athletics Meets Art in the Form of Mario Lemieux (Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins)

Recently Erin Yanacek offered an article on The Muse Dialogue, exploring what she sees as the similarity between her experience as an artist and her experience as an athlete. In the process, she discusses that the topic came out of a debate with colleague Andrew Swensen.

As we always seek to offer the opportunity for dialogue on the arts, Swensen has taken the time to explore everything from dance competitions to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Add a bit of Coppola’s The Godfather, rhythmic gymnastics, and Mario Lemieux’s goal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and you come to his argument. And what is that argument? Well, you will have to read on to see if he has been convinced in his response “Artists May Be Like Athletes…But Art is Not”

Artists, Athletes, and the Passion to Excel

Erin Yanacek (Photo: Jon Pratt)

Erin Yanacek (Photo: Jon Pratt)

Erin Yanacek, trumpet player and cyclist, explores the connection between her experiences as an artist and as an athlete. She finds a number of similarities, and in particular the mental space of each activity requires a level of focus that brings an individual an uncommon clarity. She writes, “The idea of a masterful musician’s mindset is not unlike the mindset of an athlete in a competition. Levels of focus and awareness are raised to a seemingly electric state.”

If you have not already read this article — we released it last week but are only posting it to the homepage now — it is a fascinating look into the psychology of artistic creation. Join The Muse Dialogue for Yanacek’s “Artists, Athletes, and the Passion to Excel” (click here to read full article).

Seeking the Love of Music That I Once Felt

depressed-artist1Erin Yanacek fell deeply in love with music at the age of 12, and that love evolved into the yearning to make a career of it. Now in her twenties, with many accomplishments and success in conservatory training already achieved, she finds herself painfully separated from that initial love.

What happens when an artist, initially motivated by love, faces the prospect of alienation from their art because of the demands of the profession? When an artist is so immersed in their training that the demands of technique eclipse the joy of art making? The problem is not new, but it is a particularly challenging one for young classical musicians, who have demanding practice schedules and daunting prospects regarding available positions.

Yanacek is at such a point and writes, “I play the trumpet for a living and long to be furiously in love with this art form. Why does this awful feeling plague me?” She shares her powerful story in this offering from The Muse Dialogue, “Seeking the Love of Music That I Once Felt.” (click to read full article)

Artists, Craftsmen…and the Craft of Art

photo-2Virgil once wrote, “Practice and thought might gradually form many an art.” Indeed one wonders how much of artmaking can be attributed to questions of craft, that is, to those things that one can practice and improve with dedication and commitment. Yet how much of art is in the craft? When does the focus on craft impede the expression of the art?

A trumpet player now entering a life as a professional artist, Erin Yanacek contemplates the questions of where art and craft intersect. A trip to a local arts and crafts store creates a touchstone for reflection on her education and on the future of her artistry. Read a fascinating look inside the mind of an artist in Yanacek’s “Artists, Craftsmen…and the Craft of Art” (click to view full article).



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