Insulated in the studio, we are safe from this question. It doesn’t need to be asked when we are making the art. Creativity is by and large beyond explanation, and perhaps that’s part of its magic. When we make a living brushstroke, when we look at a picture we respond to, we feel it in our bones. We understand it with our bodies, not our minds.
But those are the good days, the days we don’t have to explain. When we’re feeling blue, when our art hasn’t made an imprint on another soul, when our studio is filling with our rejected children, then the old question arises, a howl from deep within.
Why make art? Why bother with creativity?
I make art because it is the most dynamic way to investigate myself, particularly aspects of myself I have trouble accessing consciously. When I hold those things in my gaze, I can be more mindful about whether they are useful to me, are serving my happiness.
Making images–along with meditation, and other mindfulness tools–is a way to access deep seated beliefs. We can practice getting past the stream of mental chatter that obscures the things we hold in our bodies, in our muscles, in our tension. Doubt. Grief. Anger. Quiet the mind, and the real stuff comes up. Beliefs about our limitations and our possibilities. Beliefs about what others think and how the world works. Beliefs that, in most cases, we have no proofs of their functioning truth in the world. This is why we must be careful about choosing them, and why it is important to confront them.
Why do you make art?