It’s a funny time to ask, having already created a blog to share my evolving artistic endeavors. Yet the question has nagged at me anew since my very recent foray into blogging. Although it’s possibly a tangential inquiry, I also wonder how sharing is connected to the creative process. All might agree that art is a form of expression. Does that mean, almost by definition, that creative output should be shared? Is this perhaps a variant of the age-old query: “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
If we don’t share the things we create do they really exist? To what degree does the act of sharing, and the response generated, change the work? If we do something and no one is there to like it on our chosen social media outlet, did it really happen?
The last question is a joke, really, but I do think one’s relationship with social media and the intentions behind sharing through the varied online options are worth examining. What if no one likes a post? Does that mean it wasn’t worth making? Should one aim for popularity or post the pieces that are most personally meaningful?
Maybe we first need to understand what drives us to create something in the first place. Why make another painting? Why share a photo? Why write a blog post or poem or story? Are the motivations highly variable? Or is there a universal drive at work?
To articulate my personal answers about the reasons for creativity is more difficult than I had expected. And maybe that’s the obvious reason we make art – to express things that are challenging to characterize or explain in linear form. Asking why we create things may ultimately be akin to asking why we exist or why we breathe. I understand some folks make things for utility or monetary gain. But isn’t there something more?
For me, creative expression feels like my soul’s urging, something to fill the corners of my being, a way to expand an otherwise partially inflated balloon. As such, my sense of wellbeing is directly proportional to how much creative energy I generate and adequately express. Sometimes I make excuses – I’m so busy; My technique is too primitive; My thoughts are disorganized; I’m not good enough. And every time I say no to myself in these ways, I feel my energy wither. The possibilities for myself shrink, the balloon deflates, and I become fatigued from holding myself against the beautiful current that might guide me to a better place.
Creative by nature?
We are all creators, aren’t we? Sifters and shifters of energy in different forms? Not everyone paints or writes, but we all make something new by virtue of our presence and choices about how we express. And don’t we all look for ways to be ourselves most fully? Don’t we all feel best when we allow ourselves to be swept up by a wave of creative energy, in whatever form that takes?
So why not share? Whether imperfect or still in development, why not let others see what we’re like in full expression? Because when we do – when we offer ourselves in fullness, even in the early stages of our chosen craft – maybe that is when making art becomes an act of love.
You are truly an inspiration
You inspire me!
Following your posts!
I was hoping you’d read this, particularly after our conversation the other day!
Hi Amanda – I’m very familiar these ruminations and I think it will differ dramatically from one person to the next. For me, the painting always comes first. My blog was intended as a good means of collecting it all together and, hopefully, over time being able to chart my progress and hopefully see improvements. It was also intended to help to motivate me to paint. I set myself the challenge of posting something once a week – and as I only blog about painting, I have to have something new share, or at least painting related. At first this did sometimes feel like a bit of a chore at times, but now it’s all just an integral part of my painting and I find that the two work hand in hand. Oh, and I’ve met some great people via blog too!
Absolutely John!! Everyone is different and the reasons similarly so. I do wonder if there is something more universal that drives us to create in the first place…a question that I explore some, but that came up organically in the writing. I’m grateful for the chance to explore these ideas with others. And I suspect how I use the blog will evolve, like our paintings 😉
I agree with the ‘we’re all creators’. Sometimes I talk to people about my work and they say ‘oh, I’m not creative’. So I ask if they cook or grow vegetables or something – and usually find they do have a creative streak in another medium.
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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for all the ways you create! I’m new to blog creation and am still trying to figure out the platform. Comments and advice are so welcome!!