The Definition of An “Artified Life” implicit within the movie, “Cast Away”

Artified is word I thought I had made up when I first used it to describe my daily life. I like to play with words so “artified” slipped out easily when one day I was asked what I was doing now that my life had changed so drastically. I answered, ”I am becoming artified”.

This response came out of one of those best moments in life where you become informed by your own answer; in order to create art I needed to become artified.

Living an artified life is about intimacy with what is the other:  the unusual, the inventive, the authentic, the edgy.   Going to flea markets, for example, finding a hand-made item to incorporate into our life, rather than buying a box-store item that would serve the same purpose, is having intimate contact with the unusual and the authentic; we are inventive and edgy by what we put on our wall. This action compresses what is known to us, against what is unknown to us, into Art-Life-Art-Life.

As I am writing, a very poignant image of this process came to me from the movie, “Cast Away.”

Do you remember when Tom Hanks found the Fed Ex boxes along the shore?   Here was a man who had perfected linear thinking to such an extent that he was the best in his profession.  Each box he opened challenged this identity. He had a choice to look at the ice skates in despair or find a creative response. Each time he was able to push past the obvious use of the item, a layer of art compressed against his learned behaviors.

These creative choices prepared him for his first authentic response as an artist, when just like primitive man, he pressed his bloody hand onto a surface, in this case a volleyball, to create a portrait of another human.

However, there was one box he was never able to open.  It had a simple image of a heart with wings on the front.  This little piece of art kept evoking the immense questions that could only be answered by living them out.  It was this drawing and his becoming ––artified that finally led to the solution that saved his life.

I believe artified is both a state and a process where each life choice is based on interacting in some manner with art. A quick-minded spellcheck suggested that “artified” should have been “ratified”.  Spellcheck stumbled onto an important truth: an artified life genuinely is a grounded and ratified life.

***A more formal exploration of the first use and definitions of the words artify and artification can be found simple by googling either word.