Why Do We Create Art?

Art is really a weird thing when you think about it.  I am not sure if it is something unique to humans because I have never looked that up.  Maybe a whale’s song could be art to them, or a mocking bird’s beautiful call, or the dance of a bird of paradise, or the nest of a raven with its shiny objects interwoven in the branches.  Whether they see it as something more than a form of communication is something we will never know.  Or maybe we do know?  There might be extensive research and scientific papers written about art in non-humans and maybe there are people out there who devote their entire life to this very subject… but I personally don’t know.  Can animals create art?  Maybe, maybe not.  It’s a good question and one I think I would like to investigate further. *note: read up on that.

Something I was thinking about today was why people make art at all, which is what this post will be about.  I don’t actually have an answer, so don’t get excited thinking that if you read this you will suddenly gain clarity on the subject.  I know why I do it, so that is the only voice I can speak from.  Art is very personal thing and everyone has their own reasons for creating the things they do, whether it be a painting, music, poetry, dance, writing, or something else.  Let’s explore:

We will start with why I do art.  I can say with absolute certainty there are at least 2 reasons:
1. Because I like doing it
2. Because I like to share it with others

Number 1 is much more important to me because even if i was the last person alive on the planet and no one would ever see it, I would still draw.  It is not about how many people look at it, read about it, buy it, love it… it is about enjoying being creative and inventing a whole other world outside of the one I live in… escaping to a place where magical panda bears, wise penguins, and rainbow colored cows are the common folk: my friends.  My little characters have histories and personalities, and sometimes I feel like they take on a life of their own beyond what I created for them and they become their own beings.  All I did was draw them… the rest they did themselves.  Rainbow cow might be the best example of this.  Re-read this post from last April:

I can’t say that other people don’t factor into the enjoyment of doing art though.  It is nice when someone says “i like that picture” or if they give me inspiration for things to draw.  But what I like is that I am sharing something special to me with someone else and knowing that something I created is making a difference in their life, even if it is only fleeting.  Maybe it made them smile.  Maybe it reminded them of a child they know or possibly their own childhood.  Or maybe it let them escape into a place of youthful imagination; a place that so many of us forget how to access as we get older but which remains inside us all and will come out with a little help.  I think that is why adults seem to like my art as much as children… maybe even more.

 “Octopus Tree in a Mollusc Garden”
I can’t speculate on why other people make art, but I can share with you an amazing young artist from South Korea who transforms her entire studio into representations of her dreams and emotions.  It is incredible.  Meet JeeYoung Lee:


Here is a link to her website, and it is worth checking out. I was mesmerized by the beauty of these rooms and what she creates, so here are a few of my favourites:

“My Chemical Romance”
“Panic Room”
“Sweet Appetite”
 “Monsoon Season”

Every single one of her creations is incredible and worth a look, so make sure to check out her website.  I don’t think we are really any closer to understanding why people create art, but at least you know why I do it.  Your own reasons would likely be very different and what you create would be different as well, and maybe that is why art is so interesting… it is like a little window into someone’s mind and is likely as close as we could ever get to understanding what it would be like to live in their world, see things through their eyes, and feel what they feel.  The art we create is as much a part of us as our own arms and just like a hug can make someone feel comforted, loved, consoled, reassured, something… art can too.



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