Why Do I Create Art?

why-do-i-create-art[image by Fré Sonneveld]

The simple (and slightly vague) answer is, because it fills my soul. I can’t not create art. I live a full life raising two kids and running a business so it often happens that I can’t create art for a few days. When that happens I just don’t feel quite right, I start getting frustrated and I just feel that pull of needing to create!

I guess that all sounds lovely and divinely inspired, but I want to level with you:

It hasn’t always been this way for me

For years I dabbled with art, stopping and starting, struggling to find a groove, not finding it to be that amazing creative holy grail that I thought it would be. I looked at other people creating their amazing art in their own unique style and it felt SO FAR REMOVED from my reality. It was pretty disheartening.

I kept coming back to it though. There was an attraction to art and to creating art that I couldn’t deny, but I had to do some work on coming to it from the right place, even though at first I didn’t even realise I was coming to it from the wrong place. That ‘place’ I am talking about is how you approach making art in your mind and in your heart.

And I’ll tell you a secret:

It has nothing to do with whether you can or can’t draw

I didn’t fully grasp until the beginning of 2014, when I picked ‘journey’ as my word of the year, that I had been approaching art in a results focussed way, rather than as a process. I wanted to create certain paintings, inspired by what I loved seeing other artists create. I thought the joy was in the completed piece, in the end result. I never thought about how I wanted the creating process to feel or whether that could be something enjoyable too.

Or I thought it was one of those elusive things reserved for other people. They know how to enjoy creating art, but I don’t. Or I attached it to skill: I will start enjoying creating art when I can draw a photo realistic portrait.

I started focussing more on the process. What did I like doing, what materials did I enjoy using, what was it I needed to let go of, what was it I needed to invite more of into my heart & mind? The biggest change that this brought was the realisation that what other people do or like or use does NOT have to be same same as me.

That realisation set me free

I admit that I still get tripped up with this sometimes. I look at the work of artists I admire and I start thinking that because I LOVE their work, somehow my art needs to be like theirs.

It doesn’t.

Asking myself what I like doing and the other questions above, has been transformational. Your answers will probably be completely different from mine: CELEBRATE THAT!

Get to know your own unique loveable fallible quirky amazing self

I realised my passion is doing faces. I don’t like ‘colouring in’ (illustration-type work). I ADORE acrylics but I don’t care as much for watersoluble media. I need(ed) to let go of perfection and the wish for my art to look like other people’s art. I needed to invite more trust in, that my work is just right, right now.

Reading back what I’ve written above makes me feel so excited and amazed that I’ve come so far! It also makes me hopeful that if you are on any stage along a similar journey that you will find reading my story helpful and it will help you be a happier person and artist!

Why do YOU create art?

Let me know in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Aw, thank you for admiring my work! 😉

    Why I create art? Because I like to think I make the world a bit more colorful by sharing what I do best. That’s why. 🙂
    XOX

  2. randi parks says:

    um.. i dont really know…i love your article and needed to hear it… i havent found my style … i am so new.. only doing it for about and a year and more watching than doing…your article helped me look at it in a different way and stop looking at it like i need to be like her …. thank you so much….

    • So glad it resonated with your Randi!! I think this is one of those questions that you keep asking yourself and even if you don’t have an answer to it, simply the process of asking will make your direction more clear to you over time.

  3. Oh, great question Iris. Why do I create art? The answer is not very far from yours. It is because I feel that I need to create art and when I don’t do it for long periods of time I feel a void inside. I make art as well as I hope it will have a positive influence on the others and that it will make the world a better place.

    • I love the second reason why you create art. That’s partly it for me too. Maybe not the art creating in itself, but the sharing and writing about my experiences. I love how art connects us.

  4. Great blog post Iris! The simple answer for me is I create art because it’s in me and needs to get out! I don’t feel truly myself unless I am creating!

  5. I am still working on learning all of the awesome techniques and playing around in my art. I still haven’t found my style yet which can be a little discouraging, but I know it won’t happen over night. I create art as an outlet for all of the stress and struggles I’m dealing with. I call it my “art therapy”. I love doing it and I love sharing it with others as well. It makes me feel good when a friend or family member likes my pages and encourages me to keep going. 🙂

    • It comes without you noticing it Ashlee! Well, that’s what happened for me. I didn’t even notice at first, only when people started saying ‘you’re really developing your own style lately’ and ‘I recognised that piece as yours before I saw who posted it’ did I realise that just gradually I’d developed my own style. I love art as therapy! It’s an awesome side-effect for me of creating art, such a great release.
      Iris recently posted…Why Do I Create Art?My Profile

  6. Dear Iris, hi!
    I’ve just read your post and I feel so much into the same processes but I’m so new at it! I haven’t find my style yet (are we sure there is one? I still wonder…) and I’m always looking at the work of artists that I admire asking myself if I could ever make something so beautiful as theirs. Although comparing is quite discouraging, I’m still trying to create ‘art’. Why do I? I believe that for me it is an inner need to create something (hopefully beautiful), the excitement during the process and the happiness to share it with others. All these feelings keep me going and I wish that time and practice will help me develop.

    • Melfina, thank you for your beautiful comment. I think looking at other people’s work is really important! It’s difficult though because I really understand that tendency to compare. For a long time I was trying to find my style and feeling annoyed that it wasn’t becoming clear to me. Then I realised that your unique style develops by 1. doing art, A LOT 2. continuously asking yourself what is is you enjoy (both doing & looking at) and incorporating that knowledge into your work.

      Thanks for sharing your creations, your photo albums are really beautiful!

  7. Thanks for sharing, Iris! Love your realizations. I create to embrace both the mystery and the magic of creation and creativity… for healing and opening, for letting go and letting in, to tune in, to let my imagination run wild, to invite the child inside out to play, to focus energy on intentions and blessings, to listen and discover, to wonder and love, to practice being brave and bold, to express gratitude, to dance with the divine, to give… the reasons obviously vary as much as the art I love to create! 😉 I love the variety in this crazy world and life and art helps me to both cope with and celebrate life!

  8. Thanks for sharing, Iris! Love your realizations. I create to embrace both the mystery and the magic of creation and creativity… for healing and opening, for letting go and letting in, to tune in, to let my imagination run wild, to invite the child inside out to play, to focus energy on intentions and blessings, to listen and discover, to wonder and love, to practice being brave and bold, to express gratitude, to dance with the divine, to give… the reasons obviously vary as much as the art I love to create! 😉 I love the variety in this crazy world and life and art helps me to both cope with and celebrate life! {Oops – the first time I posted the comment, it had an incorrect email address so reposted}
    Julia recently posted…Art of Gratitude * Featured Artist Interview * Lara CornellMy Profile

  9. Kryste Herring says:

    I’ve always felt a need to create, to watch something form beneath my hands and take on a life of it’s own. I would write, bake, cross-stitch…but had always been told I wasn’t an artist and couldn’t draw. Every time I would try my hand at it, I would get frustrated and stop, so I died inside and just gave up. Flash forward to the age of 44 as I sit with my 5 yr old son- “Mommy, paint a picture with me”- and I cringe inside. I pull out the chalk pastels he received for his birthday, some paper, and just started playing with him, letting go of the expectation of what I thought art was and just enjoying the time we were spending. I still have the Halloween pictures we drew that day and will forever hold in my heart that my child taught me a very important lesson- To let go of expectations and the worry of what everyone else will think is to free yourself to do what you once deemed impossible. Not all will love or even like it, you may not yourself, but that need is there for a reason.

    • Thank you for sharing your story Kryste. I feel so sad that you were told you weren’t an artist and couldn’t draw =( Faith and believing in yourself go such a long way to ensuring you CAN do things, I’m so glad to hear that through your experience with your son you were able to get back that feeling.

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I try to respond to all comments especially if you have asked a question, so please check back for my response.

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