I had a bit of a meltdown earlier in the week – perhaps I was feeling tired, or perhaps I had a lot on my plate, admin-wise, which drained my creative spirit.
Whatever the reason, I started to ask myself the question “what’s the point of making art?”
During my IT career, everything I did had a very clear purpose: I would design, build and implement computer programs to solve specific business problems, such as creating invoices, or storing customer details, or producing sales reports.
And I’ve probably said this before: I find the lack of a clear purpose rather challenging!
So – what IS the point of making art? This is what I’ve come up with.
Making art – whether it’s painting, writing, composing music, taking photographs, or whatever – is an expansive act. It doesn’t allow us to hide away or shrink.
Making art demands our full attention. It’s like a mindful meditation in that respect. It requires us to turn up and be fully present.
You can’t make art when your mind is on something else – so making art is a wonderful way to remove yourself from the troubles of the world for a while. They will still be there, waiting for you, when you take a break from making art.
In the meantime, by focusing your conscious mind on making art, it gives your unconscious mind the opportunity to search the archives for solutions to all the problems you’ve been busy trying to process consciously.
In that respect, making art is an escape from “reality.” But it’s much more than that. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with yourself at a cellular level. You make art from the very core of your being – not from some superficial, ego-driven place.
Making art is being totally honest with yourself and with those around you. It’s about expressing how you really feel and what you truly believe – even if you don’t know how to articulate those things in words or can’t quite identify how it is that you feel or what it is that you believe.
Your beliefs, your hopes and your fears translate themselves into the paint on the canvas, or the notes on the stave, or the words of a poem, or the subject you choose to photograph.
When you share your art with others (which you absolutely must do) your art reflects back to your audience their own beliefs, hopes and fears, and helps them to process them – even if they are different from yours.
Your making art inspires others to believe that they, too, can make art.
When I logged in to Facebook, on the morning that I was having my meltdown, I came across this video, in an article about How Society Kills Your Creativity on the Collective Evolution blog, and I felt inspired to write this post.