Five Reasons to Make Art and
Three Reasons Not to Make Art

There are probably 100 or 1000 or 1,000,000 reasons to make art.   I"m talking about five here today. These are not in order of importance either, they're just as they came off the thought train that rattles around in my brain.   I am side-stepping the "what is art" question, thank you very much.

Five Reasons to Make Art 
  1. You enjoy making things with your hands.   You like the feel of smooshing clay or pushing paint around on a canvas, or manipulating the elements of your chosen medium. 
  2. You've seen things in this world that you're trying to understand and making art is your way of trying to understand your world.
  3. You've seen things in this world you're trying to commemorate or celebrate.   Maybe you're celebrating color or order in an abstract way. 
  4. You have something to say.  Maybe it's as simple as look at how the blue of the lake relates to that yellowish sky.   This relates back to #2 and #3.
  5. Art-making is therapeutic and relaxing.  It's a nice alternative to reality at times.
And here are Three Reasons Not to Make Art

  1. You want adulation or recognition for your art-work.  You want someone to say, "This artist is worth collecting."  This comes for a few people.  But it comes so rarely that it won't be enough to keep you motivated to create.  You will always need one more compliment or accolade to keep you going.   However, some famous people have made art solely for this reason alone.
  2. You want to be a millionaire.  Roger Martin, my Painting II teacher twenty years ago at Montserrat College of Art, said if you make enough money to pay for your supplies you are doing well.  I remember at the time thinking, "Really?  That is pretty depressing."  And maybe he's exactly right but he was trying to let the youngsters know that it's a rare artist that makes a living at their art.  Usually they have another stream of income.    
  3. You feel your work is only art if it's on a gallery wall.   Some people are better at marketing and their work is on a gallery wall because they're better at getting it out there.   It's the same painting whether it's hanging in your living or on a gallery wall.  The same paint and thought went into it.  The difference is that someone else thought it was sell-able.   This is a variation of #1. It's important to NOT make art for this reason because it discourages you from continuing on your art-making journey.  On the other hand, it's not bad to have goals.  But that's another post.


Debra Dixon said...

Gotta agree--the marketing is a full-time job.

McNally School said...

GREAT post. I can't stop thinking about it. This would be a good starter for a Maida Doll Group discussion.

JDConwell said...

Heh. There's a reason they're called "starving artists". :~) I think right now my main reason for making art focus on #'s 1 and 3. But I'm going into town to get groceries later today, so my reason my be all about #5 after that.

Dixie Redmond said...

Notice I did not say you should not make art with the hopes of making money. I said you shouldn't expect to be a millionaire. ;-) But art and money have a very complicated relationship.

I'm going to move this into a discussion over at Maida Dolls Group per Elaine's suggestion....

"Do not let what you cannot do
keep you from doing what you can do."

John Wooden