One of the reasons some people find it difficult to take time for their art is that they don’t have a good enough reason to do it. Afterall, if you are not doing it for work or for a living what’s the purpose? It’s easy to get caught up in this story of art making not being important especially since our society often equates importance with being “productive”. And making art for the sake or self-expression is seen by many as falling short of contributing to society.
But is that really true? Is art making merely self-indulgent and pointless or is there more to it than that? Anyone who has a regular or even and irregular creative art practice are probably getting a feeling in your gut right about now that is saying “no”. And if you have managed to have a strong creative practice despite these societal messages then your gut is likely screaming “NO!” in response to my earlier statement.
Being creative is an essential part of being human. Let’s look at the reasons people make art:
- For self-expression
- To connect with your Self
- Because it feels good
- Because it makes other people feel good
- To help regulate your moods
- For stress release.
- To process your thoughts/ problem solving
- As a meditative practice: focusing on the here and now
- To be more productive: I’m sort of kidding here because I don’t think most people start out making art to be “more productive”, however many find that this is a bonus “side effect”. When we allow ourselves some creative play time it frees us up to be more focuses, happy and yes “productive”.
To me these reasons though mainly focused on one’s self, strengthen individuals. Creating art makes us happy, connected with our intentions, and aid our confidence in our inner being. The stronger we are as individuals the more we can be there for others, contributing to our communities. Connection with self leads to connection with others. Understanding and acceptance of ourselves helps us be more understanding and accepting of others. This leads to greater empathy and a more balanced world in the end. That’s my gut feeling anyway.
Of course we could continue to resist the urge to create, calling it pointless and unimportant. Listing off all the other more “important” things to be done. Then at the end of the day you can feel proud in your accomplishments, checking off your to do lists ready for the next day’s to do lists which you will face the next day. Those lists are never done, there is always more to do.
We can become robots following these lists. It is easy to forget the other essentials of living a happy life namely, creative expression, connection with self and others and experiencing joy to name a few. Happiness arises out of having a balance of work and play.
Simply put happy people make a happy world. What better contribution is there?