An excerpt from my book The Creative Wound: Heal Your Broken Art (p13, Why Make Art?)
Art exists to remind us that we are alive. It reminds us that we are human, that we each have a soul. An artist creates magic from the mundane and leads us by the hand into another world, or more deeply into the one we’re in.
To make art is to make something from the truth as you see it. Real art is a gift that establishes a connection or inspires transformation, first to you as the maker and then anybody else you invite to share in it.
Art is made by ordinary people. Brilliant, weird, imperfect, reasoning, feeling, thinking, normal, everyday people. These are people who choose to live deeply and have grown tired of a life doing things that mean nothing.
Art isn’t about following instructions and making what you’re told to make. Neither is it about being able to copy, even if you copy well.
The medium you choose doesn’t make your work a work of art, and demonstrating a high skill level doesn’t automatically make you an artist.
But if you’ve stirred a heart, changed a mind, or uncloaked a mystery, then you’ve made something worthy of the name.
Art. Music. Words. They have a timeless, almost holy, power to carry the essence of our stories. They connect lonely hearts together within a community of understanding, and let others on the journey know, “You are not alone.”
Yes, every chord has been played before, and every story theme explored, but not by you. That’s what makes it interesting. Your perspective is unique. Your touch and imprint will never be repeated. Your art can quench a thirst or nourish a soul in ways nobody else’s can. But it can only do so if you let it live.
Admittedly, in creating anything you inevitably risk open criticism, and it does take hours of hard, focused, determined work to become proficient.
It is all risk. Undoubtedly.
But if we choose to risk nothing, we actually risk everything. We risk never knowing what we were capable of. We risk our innate genius dying before it ever had the chance to live. We risk being left behind.
What would your life be like if all the risks you’re avoiding actually paid off? Can you recall times when art, whether your own or another artist’s, swept you up into feeling part of something bigger? Wouldn’t you like to have more similarly transcendent, connected moments, more frequently, and maybe even create some for others?
That’s why I make art.