Why do I make art

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Why do I make art? That’s a question that has stumped me my entire life. Why? What motivates me to pick up a pencil, or a pen, or grab a paintbrush and record something on paper? I’ve been asked this question many times, and I never know what to say. I can’t point to a work of art, or a scenic vista and say that is what drives me to create. Many days I struggle to find something that sparks an idea or inspiration. But when I don’t make art I feel off. Something isn’t clicking inside me. The gears tend to bang around a bit. My head gets cloudy. Once I make those marks though, the head clears and all systems work together beautifully.

I also struggle with which medium to work with. Most artists have a tool of choice – pens, pencils, pastels, watercolors…the list is long. I tend to bounce between watercolor, pen, markers, pen and watercolors, pen and markers, and pencils. I go on little binges where one set of tools is the tool of choice for a few weeks, then it’s off to another one. Subject matter also follows the same pattern.

I’m sure most people would not think this is a big deal, but I know my art would really benefit if I could focus. Focus on the why and then the tool or tools of choice. If I were a singer, I would be all over the place – country, jazz, indie, old school rock…it could be fun, but at the same time I wouldn’t really master anything in particular.

I know we aren’t suppose to compare ourselves to others, but honestly we all do. And when I see artist who are known or recognized for their subject or tools of choice, I wish I could have that. Not the recognition, but that is always nice, but to have the focus and master that focus. Urban sketchers, pencil artists, watercolor artists, sculptors, cartoonists, poets, photographers, writers….they have the why and the focus. They have the drive that goes into every piece they create.

My drive, it’s just to make art, but why? I may never know what drives me, or which tool is the one to focus on. But I will keep making art, in some form or another.

Thanks for reading through my little brain dump. Like drawing, sometimes we just need to get something out there…Erik

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15 thoughts on “Why do I make art

    1. Hahahaha! Those are words I need to write on the inside of every sketchbook! I guess sometimes I get too caught up on the next achievement instead of just having fun. Thanks for commenting, I truly appreciate the wisdom!

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  1. Hey! That’s what I had to do back when I was an illustrator! Do whatever, in whatever style, that the client wanted! I hated it but it paid the bills…most times! Now that I’m retired, I’m like sherylpond above. I just do whatever makes me happy! And it’s usually different every day! I totally understand your questioning tho’! I still sometimes look at one particular person’s art and think, “I want to just do that!” Then I get bored and move on to other things! Hence a studio FULL of supplies I could never use up! Just do what makes you smile and feel joy! Then we’ll all feel your joy in your art! ♥

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    1. More wonderful words of wisdom. I’ve noticed my art has been a bit flat lately, I think it is because I have been trying too hard to zero in on something instead of just doing. That’s the great thing about this community, always there to help. I was hesitant to put this out here today, but I am glad I did. I guess I just needed a little reminder. My wife has also been saying the same thing…just have fun.

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      1. I’ve actually liked your loose watercolors! But I’m only one opinion! LOL! Your wife sounds smart…have fun! Hugs! ♥

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  2. Sometimes when I’m out drawing or painting people ask me questions. Why are you doing that? Are you taking a class? etc. Once I told a man I’m doing this because the voice in my head told me to do it. I got a laugh.

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  3. In the 6+ years since I started drawing (although I’ve always done creative things, I had no drawing experience before that), I can’t say that I have given much thought to “why.” I think a lot more about “how” — how to make better compositions, how to put stronger tonal values in a sketch, etc. The desire to improve my drawings is what motivates me — as well as the sheer fun of it. I also have no problem with being fickle about materials. 😉 I love experimenting. I learn something from each type of tool. Maybe you’re a more versatile artist because you switch around. And it beats being stuck in a rut!

    – Tina

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    1. I really like the line, “you are the inspiration.” That’s so true. I’ve always been very task oriented, and the art hasn’t been, it’s an odd feeling. Thanks for your comment.

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  4. I do art much for the same as I write, to try to discover a little bit more about myself and what makes me tick. Sometimes art as I writing takes an indirect approach and I scratch my head wondering if indeed it has lost the way yet invariably something is discovered along the twisty winding convuleted path. Keep making art. BTW my art is piling up around me and I wonder what I shall do with all the prints I’ve made.

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