Recently, I wrote about finding motivation, and how hard it can be to find a creative ‘muse’. Today I’d like to look at a related question. Why do we create? What makes people make art?
Some people do it for money, but art isn’t really very lucrative. There’s not much money in it. Almost nobody makes ‘big bucks’ from selling their writing. Very few people make enough to earn a living from painting, sculpting, or composing music.
For most people, these are hobbies, recreational activities. We do it for fun, or because of the satisfaction of producing a new thing.
The Hollywood movie-maker MGM has a Latin ‘motto’: ‘ars gratia artis’. It means ‘art for art’s sake’ – when we don’t make art for money, or to impress people; we make art so that art will exist. To put it another way, we make it because art itself is inherently good. Would you agree with that?
Perhaps we make art because we have something to say. I like the idea that all art is a model of the universe – that everybody writes and paints and sings because they want to say ‘the world is really like THIS’, to show other people another perspective.
Personally I feel a great ‘compulsion’ – I MUST create things. I enjoy watching movies, so of course I make my own videos. I love reading stories, so obviously I have to write my own stories. I love to listen to music, so naturally I’ve written and recorded hundreds of my own songs.
Sometimes I wonder: why doesn’t everyone feel like this? Why doesn’t everyone else try to make a bit of everything? What I create isn’t always beautiful, but I like to think most of it is inventive, with a certain artistic flair. If I stopped, I’d feel I was really wasting my talents.
How about you? Do you feel compelled to create? What do you make, and why?