I am an artist. Over two decades, I’ve created hundreds of works and I’ve learned so much about the courage it takes, the process, and the benefits. Here are some of my takeaways.
Art may not always be functional, like crafts are, yet it’s imperative we continue to practice being creative. Art can change a your outlook in a positive way and brighten the way you experience the world.
There are so many valid reasons to make art! This article will explore some of the reasons to create art – perhaps this will be an inspiration to a few people who may be on the proverbial fence about being more creative, also I’ll share some art supplies I use and a few books I can recommend.
12 Reasons to Create Art Now
1. Create art because it’s challenging and takes courage to share your expression with others.
To create art you need to put yourself “out there” and that process cuts both ways. The good work, when shown to the public, in social media or even to a friend, may be appreciated – that will make you feel like a million bucks. The bad work, when shown and not appreciated may sting – but let it be the catalyst to keep you going!
“I was born this way, born to make art, to make hip hop. And I think I’m just one of the people who had the courage to stay with my born identity. Hip hop keeps me true to myself, keeps me human.”
— KRS-One, one of hip hop’s most influential figures
2. Make art to relax; let it be a place to unwind.
Find a space that gives you a refuge, a place where you can put down the phone, turn on some music, talk radio or a podcast and not be concerned with the checklist of things on your desk. Spend some time and energy on a single focal point and in the process enjoy colors, shapes, textures. If lucky, you will emerge with a work that continually brings you, and likely others, joy.
“I make art for a few reasons. In life, we experience so much fragmentation of thought and feeling. For me, creating art brings things back together.”
– Gina Gibney, Artistic Director of the Gina Gibney Dance Company
3. Make art because you are driven to create.
It’s a compulsion. Do you feel as if there’s something YOU need to create? Personally I feel better while I create and after I create. I have added obstacles to creating like – it’s a self-centered and selfish pursuit or the cost for materials are too high but the fact remains that the motivation and inspiration are stronger voices and when I follow my instincts, inspiration and drive – I simply feel better.
“Whatever the reason, an inner compulsion exists and I continue to honor this internal imperative. If I didn’t, I would feel really horrible. So whether attempting to make art is noble or selfish, the fact remains that I will do it nevertheless.”
– James Sturm, cartoonist and co-founder of the Center for Cartoon Studies
4. Make art because we depend on art culturally.
Art reflects culture, transmits culture, shapes culture, and comments on culture. From our cave-dwelling ancestors drawing animals on cave walls to Banksy’s political graffiti in buildings, it’s all derived from a specific time and place.
5. Make art to express something that may not easily be expressed with words.
Art helps us see what is there but puts it through a poetic lens, it often may show us what is there but not easily perceived. Since everyone has different experiences, the audience will bring their own interpretation to the work which may be nostalgia, a dream or a memory.
6. Produce art because it can be emotionally and often intellectually rewarding.
Any artistic pursuits; painting, sculpting, designing, making music, has actual quantifiable benefits. This study from the National Library of Medicine that points out free-form painting yielded a significant decrease in anxiety.
7. Create art because playing with media puts you in a good mood.
Art, at any skill level, may strengthen your brain and improve your mood. In 2017 research paper found that “blood flows to the brain’s reward center, when the participants were making art.” This suggests that art may be beneficial for people dealing with health conditions that activate the reward pathways in the brain, like addictive behaviors, eating disorders or mood disorders.
“75 percent of the participants’ cortisol levels lowered during their 45 minutes of making art… there was no correlation between past art experiences and lower levels.”
8. Create art because it boosts your mood.
When making art, you’re making many decisions, what tools to use, what colors to use. These decisions have a positive effect on brain waves, emotions, the nervous system, and can raise serotonin levels thereby raising your mood.
“Art enhances brain function. It has an impact on brain wave patterns and emotions, the nervous system, and can actually raise serotonin levels. Art can change a person’s outlook and the way they experience the world.“
— The Healing Power of ART & ARTISTS
Here is a selection of materials I recommend for getting started. I use all of these in my studio and love to take the watercolors and pens when I travel.
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9. Make art to experience Flow Energy.
Being in the flow is about being completely focused, fully immersed or ‘in the zone.’ You may enjoy making art for its own sake – when in a flow state time flies. Everything flows in naturally.
“I make art primarily because I enjoy the process. It’s fun making things.“
– Pete Docter – Filmmaker
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10. Create art to interact with people, places and things.
I recently started to create with wood and paper, it was exciting to go to the japanese paper store and touch dozens of new textures. I reflected on my travels to Japan and felt connected to the traditional artisans there.
“Projects allow me to meet people I wouldn’t ordinarily meet, travel to places I wouldn’t normally go to, learn about subjects that I didn’t know I would be interested in, and sometimes even help people out in small ways that make me feel good.”
– Harrell Fletcher, Artist and Professor
11. Make art because it helps you evolve.
A friend recently reminded me, “Don’t ignore those little ideas you have, follow the good ones.” Naturally we can’t follow all our ideas but the ones that bubble to the top may be important. Write them down, make them happen! Part of the difference between successful people and less successful people is the fact that one of them tried! Failure means you are trying! So go fail because, you will also SUCCEED!
Here’s an ‘unsuccessful piece,’ I created named “Old and New” but the process was fun – which is part of the point, no? I was incorporating works from the Los Angeles Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary art to show the vast difference in fashion, style, culture and media. Additionally, who knows what people like? There may be people find this a ‘successful’ piece.
12. Make art because it can create a special space where there’s no judgement.
For beginners, I think one of the most important suggestions I can share is… don’t judge yourself, just have fun! Naturally you will make work that you don’t like and that’s to be expected but finding a space where you feel free to explore with a ‘beginners mind‘ will allow you to create, explore and design.
You may want to indulge your creative spirit, even if you think you are not “good” but good is subjective, right? So perhaps you are good?! The days of having to create beautiful art are gone. For example I don’t think Francis Becon’s work is attractive but he was a very successful artist. The Beauty Myth: Why Art Doesn’t Have To Be Pretty (And A Case For Art That’s Downright Ugly)
I make art for all these reasons above and so many more. Combining cultural forces, narrative, poetic or ambiguous messages and add self-expression and you have as many pieces of art as there are people creating art.
I have always been amazed at how humans create works so varied from one another! We all make work so vastly different that the complete randomization and unpredictability of it all seems like a miracle and I feel it helps keep us sane.
What makes you create or what’s blocking you from creating? Please share in the comments below.
Visit Etsy for prints and posters.
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Visit Society6 to purchase this print named “One Too” (below)