Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why do I do it?

A dear art friend, while sitting at my studio last week - she was painting and I was madly applying gesso to little boxes, and collaging index cards - asked me "what drives you to make art?"

Geez.  Just a little question. 

Why do I make art?

My first thought is ~ because I have to.  It is who I am.  It is what I love. What I do.  But why?

As a little girl, I remember always needing and wanting to make something. It might have been art, or craft, or sewing, or baking, or arranging leaves in the yard into imaginary home floorplans.  (Yes!)  I went to the arts & crafts section of our ChildCraft encyclopedia for ideas regularly. I probably drove my mom crazy.

This question has been rolling around in my head for days.  Why do I make art?

Could be that this is a way for me to handle my anxiety.  Some people exercise.  I eat.  Or make something.

Could be a great means of escape from the drudgery of life.  A great distraction from doing something else that is responsible. As an artist, I have a ready excuse to say that my play is my work.  Doesn't that sound great?  But that brings up the topic of value.  Feeling valued, and having the general public understand the value of art, and the artist's work.  I am constantly asked to donate my work to auctions, for good causes, for the community.  But REALLY.  Does anyone ask the insurance salesman to donate a policy?  Or the plumber to offer up a free service?  There is value is the work - and play - that I do.  I need to remind myself of that!

So, back to that question....why do I do it?

I don't know the answer.  Really.  It is who I am.  It is how I am made.  Making things makes me happy.  Sometimes I feel a need to communicate a concept, but mostly I create things to please myself.  I am doubly fortunate that most of what I create is appreciated by others.  I don't have to work on commissions to please other people.  (Well, not very often, anyway. )

Just recently I came to the realization that I AM DOING WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GROW UP!  I am an artist.  I have my own studio.  I get to go there whenever I want.  I get to share it as I choose.  I get to teach a little, and share my joy and passion, when I want to.  I AM LIVIN' THE DREAM!
Making things - for whatever purpose - is my work. 

Maybe that makes me a little bit weird.  You know us "artsy fartsy" folk!  After years of feeling uncomfortable about being different, I am now old enough to embrace my uniqueness.  Eccentricities. 

Life is Art.  I don't know why I do it.  I just do.  Art is Life

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