The Motivation of Art

Creating art should be a satisfying process because we are producing something that comes from our hands, our mind, our heart and our individuality. It should not leave you frustrated or exhausted because it was laborious and draining. But, if you are one of those artists that need to sacrifice for his or her art, labor is a part of it. But, certain questions do come up when a person creates art. Should it drain a person to create? Should it leave you unsatisfied, tired or empty? At times, yes, but the desire to keep creating should remain even after the sacrifice of time. We need to reflect and find out why we are feeling frustrated, drained and defeated before we want to give up the very thing we desire. The thing that should bring us joy, satisfaction and a sense of purpose does get corrupted at times. How do we define and fish out the guilty party? Who or what is the culprit to this corruption? The interogation must begin and the right questions must be asked.

What, how, why, and where.

What are you creating that is leaving you unsatisfied or empty? Maybe its the content or the subject matter that is troubling you. Why are you creating it?

Is the technique or style frustrating you? What will it take to make that style or technique work for you? Maybe you need to hone in on your skills, take a refresher course or get together with other artists. Take a class. Remember that we are life longer learners as artists and we don’t want to become stagnant.

Are you trying to create something that is not a reflection of who you are as an artist? Why are you trying to create something so outside you style? Sometimes we need to experiment so we can stretch and add to our toolbox of techniques. But, if you are creating something for commision or as a favor, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Is it worth the frustration and the countless hours that would normally require less time to create. Sometimes we can grow immensely through an experience like this and be suprised by the results. But be prepared for the process that will either make you be better prepared next time or vow to never do it again.

Are you creating just for the money? Well, through out history, artists have had to do this to survive. But, don’t let this be the only motivator to create art? The art scene is fickle and will leave you with a severe case of emptiness, frustration and rejection.

Are you overcomplicating the process. Most of the time simple is better. Go back to the pure and simple. Line drawings, a single stroke of a brush, color contrasts, abstraction or the study of an object or subject.

Are you creating to get approval. Well….the approval should come from you because if you are only creating to hear someone say that they like it that will never be enough. Someone out there will disapprove, over criticize, over analyze, make a statement that will hurt, not understand what you have created or simply disrespect you because they don’t respect what artists do.

I write all this because like so many artists I too struggle with these seasons. I am coming out of a dry spell and have returned to the pure and simple stage longing to be in a room full of other artists wanting to explore the learning process again and again. How many of us remember the creativity and the unending flow of productivity when attending college or learning a new technique or style? We felt like a sponge heavy in its taking and learning waiting to be squeezed out to release on to paper, canvas or 3-D medium.

The desire to create and produce art is a hunger and a drive. And if that hunger and drive is not expressed or satisfied it leaves the artist with a deep longing. So evaluate what is making you ignore or avoid creating.  No body wants to create if it leaves you longing, unsatisfied or wounded.

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