Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Art? (Art as Personal Validation Series-- Article 1)

Originally uploaded by thebeadedlily
As artists, we do what we do for reasons. The reasons are as varied as we are.

It's a form of expression, a pressing out of bits of our inner selves into solid form. Why do we do that? Much of the time it's so that others can see and touch those bits and recognize us as unique and special. That's important because we're individuals in a collective. We're part of humanity, dependant on it for the things that keep us sane, like love and friendship. But we are selves, so we crave approval, not based on humanity but based on individuality.

Much of the time it is to give joy to others. We get pleasure from owning something beautiful and/or handcrafted and we share that pleasure when we give or sell something beautiful and handcrafted to someone else.

People get the approval they crave in different ways. Some do it by being a good mother or wife. Some do it with their work, perhaps going into a medical field where they save lives or improve quality of life for hundreds. Others do it with fame or fortune. Artists do it with art. Or, at least, we try.

That's not to say that we can't create something for personal use and enjoyment. We often do. But when was the last time you did that *and didn't show anyone else at all*? We usually show, if not the world, a sister, a mother, a neighbor-- someone. Someone who will say 'Isn't that different.' Meaning 'Aren't you different.' Which we hear as 'Aren't you special.'

There are exceptions to everything. I adore creating something just for me because I can break the all the rules, and flaunt it. Approval becomes less important because we don't expect approval for selfishness, and making something that's completely about self-gratification is selfish. That is the exception, but for all of that, it's an extremely gratifying exception.


  1. Very insightful article. I always thought I made art because that's what I do, but your comment really made me think when you asked, "When was the last time you created something just for yourself and showed no one?"

  2. Thanks for your feedback:) You could always make something wonderful and not show anyone, just to see how it feels. It might be an interesting experiment.

  3. I don't remember the last time I created something just for myself. I like seeing the look of joy when others she my pretties.

  4. I understand Marylin! The beads on that piece I've been collecting for years, but didn't put them together till recently. A friend got married and I wanted something different to wear to her wedding. The time before that that I made something for myself was 1 year and a half ago because I wanted something to wear in my sister's wedding!
    Most of what we do doesn't stay home with us, and that's a good thing.

  5. Your jewelry is lovely and I love the idea that your created something that you love, just for yoursef and no need to show anyone else. That is a true expression of art.

  6. Thank you! I hear there's some controversy about that. Art needs it's audience they say. I plan to explore that thought in another post:)