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