Happy World Art Day! 🎨
In honor of World Art Day, I wanted to talk about why artists create art and then more specifically, why I personally create art.
There are a vast amount of reasons why artists create. Just to name a few—to express their emotional states, ideas, thoughts, special causes, to relieve stress, to spread love and kindness, to document historical occurrences, to portray their take on the world, etc. Every artist has their own path and experiences that makes every work of art unique. Even if it is similar to someone else’s—for example, in a workshop that is being led by one person to teach others how to create something—it will still be unique to each individual’s personal style, methods, and brushstrokes or hand strokes.
That is one of the beautiful things about art in my opinion. Especially being an instructor where I teach people step by step how to create works of art all the time. It’s amazing to see the different interpretations that people have of an explanation of a technique or color to be created. Usually, it still gives our brains the recognition of what is being painted, but yet all have their own unique brushstrokes or color components. We all see the world through different lenses. This is what helps make the human experience so wonderful, special, and exciting!
Why Do I Create Art?
Let me start out with this simple truth: I LOVE TO LEARN! It doesn’t matter what it is—any amount of learning something new is what fuels my soul (alongside my art making!)
Art is something that I use in various ways to help me understand myself and the world better. For me, my art making is an escape from my Type A and left-brained reality of structure, organization, and minor rigidity. No joke, I’m predominantly an analytical & scientific minded person. I’m an INTJ (Meyers Briggs Type Indicator) which is apparently pretty uncommon to be a female with that personality type. I’m absolutely okay with being different—it must be the artist in me. 😊
Let’s Start With Some History
Did you ever get one of these as a present?
When I was a child, I was always given those cheap, not such good quality little art kits for Christmas (image on the right). I loved them, even though they were cheap (and at that age didn’t even realize that!). I would spend hours in my room & out in the woods [I’ve always loved being in nature] drawing in my sketchbook. I was obsessed with wolves back then so those were pretty common drawings you’d find in my sketchbook. I didn’t realize it at the time of course, but I was teaching myself and honing my skills of seeing and drawing very early on without any guidance.
In my teens and early adulthood years, I was super drawn to photo-realism and specifically, facial features. [Not to say that I’m not still drawn to that, because who isn’t impressed when an artist is able to create something on paper or canvas that looks like you could reach out and touch a three dimensional object?!]
However, I was naïve and misunderstood a lot about the world back then. As I’ve gotten older and have had more life experiences, I realize that a lot of life isn’t perfect, and it never was, but I wanted to believe that it was going to be or that I could create it to be. I think this stemmed from the fact that I had such a shaky childhood that seemed unusual compared to those around me and a need to make it “more realistic, normal and perfect”.
Nowadays, my work has progressed to be much messier and more chaotic, even some parts left unfinished intentionally to document those parts of life that are just that, unfinished. It’s also a direct reflection of life experiences and understandings that have happened since then. Understanding that perfection is NOT what I am aiming for. I am along for the journey of life with the low & high points, lessons to be learned, and above all, to be content in my every day life. That is my goal. As of late, I am proud to say that I’m achieving that goal with excellence. 💯😁
In my work, I love to use numerous mixed medias. [By the way—medias is plural for medium—which are what we call materials used to create art.] A few of those medias include collage, acrylic paint, charcoal, pastels, inks, modeling/texture pastes, and other unlikely materials to create my compositions. I like to experiment with different layers and medias to see what happens when they mingle and mix into each other. The various textures, lines, and forms created direct each decision. I'm very interested in the layering of materials within the work and enjoying the process of seeing what happens when an element is covered up or left uncovered. It's metaphorical for human life--the results of sometimes injecting new experiences or ending experiences in your life, sometimes without our control of it. When one door closes, another opens, or maybe even a few others open.
Fun Fact: I’m a pretty intuitive person that is usually aware of these occurrences in my life. Reflection is one of our greatest tools as an artist—it is for everyone in reality! I have kept a journal and documented the majority of my life. I also do this with my art making practice and encourage my students to do the same. We grow when we realize that something needs to change, we desire something different, or explore a new or different path.
The process of making the work is more important for my journey than the finished product. Experiencing and seeing the process unfold is what makes it so enjoyable, while also knowing that there are hidden meanings and elements that have been covered up by paper or ink or paint, and that if these decisions wouldn't have been made it could have taken the process [work] on a totally different path.
I enjoy letting loose on the decision making and risk taking in my art since that is something that I rarely do in my own everyday life. I enjoy that I can make those decisions, sometimes good and sometimes bad, and the only consequences are possibly wasted supplies and/or new knowledge learned that it’s not a good idea to mix those again or to repeat that process. 🤣 In life, we don’t always get second chances for decisions we make.
I enjoy the experimental processes that sometimes create unexpected results, similarly to how they happen in real life when making decisions daily. These results are sometimes terrible, but more likely beautiful. It’s all about perspective.
Inspiration comes in a lot of forms for me—the human condition, cultural idealism, Mother Nature, literature, etc. Usually, this inspiration guides the methods, style and type of art I make—representational or abstract or a combination. I enjoy starting with an idea or thought that has inspired me and seeing what it morphs into with the various decisions made and how all along, subconsciously and intuitively, I knew how it related to my life and experiences.
Sometimes I like to document my life lessons and experiences into my work symbolically, embracing that I’m the only one that knows it’s there. I have a strong spiritual force in my life that sometimes gets hidden in my work.
I am also inspired by poems and narratives by juxtaposing textual elements in my work next to more “traditional” art elements, like a face or other imagery for added emphasis. This is sometimes with actual pages from a book or my own writings. This brings in that “hidden element” that unless you are detail-oriented or look very closely, you may not notice.
So there ya have it, a brief overview of why I create art with a small peek into my processes and inspirations as a bonus!
I’m curious to know why you create art? Is there a significant experience that happened to you that art is allowing you to escape it? Or helping you to work through it? Are you drawn to certain imagery or causes? Share with me your “why” below in the comments!
Thanks for being you. You help make the world a more beautiful & interesting place! 😊
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Until next time!