Justin Bieber, apparently bored with apologizing in song and antagonizing Post Malone, has started exploring a new medium. He took to Instagram recently to present some visual art, in the salacious person of a NSFW tomahawk-wielding manga nymph. While I cannot endorse his choice of material—is this not just an adult coloring book but an adult adult coloring book? who did this? why?—this website does endorse coloring in general.
Coloring cultivates sustained focus, which, yes, is in increasingly short supply these days, if you’ll forgive the David Brooks fogey technophobe take. Which is why a very busy Bieber can credibly express awe at his 30-minute masterpiece because “I never can sit still for that long so it’s an accomplishment.” And though this is one of the few problems he doesn’t have, coloring also offers a low-stakes outlet for those of us whose self-image doesn’t include “creativity,” who tend to suppress expression for fear of embarrassing themselves. The notion that you’d have to identify as An Artist to do something worthwhile with colors is pretty toxic and restrictive. (Critics argue that coloring within lines doesn’t go far enough to qualify as actual art therapy—fair enough—but it might set you on the path of drawing your own designs.)
Opening a coloring book opens a small window of uncomplicated solitude where all you have to do is put colors within the lines presented to you. Forget your imminent deadlines or ever-spewing timeline or collapsing life plans, and just mash some waxy colorsticks in between these clear black borders in whatever pattern pleases you. You have no one to impress, no standards to satisfy but your whims, no external validation awaiting the finished product. And when you’re done, you can enjoy the inexplicable satisfaction of having made something concrete. (Something more concrete, probably, than the output of any self-proclaimed Silicon Valley “maker of things.”) Tape it up on the wall. Exhale.
You need this, and Bieber probably needed it, too, after getting choked by his friend last night.