The thing about art is that everyone should make it.
If you’ve been to a museum, gallery, sculpture garden, dance performance, theater show, opera, etc., you’ve witnessed art that someone else has created. And maybe you thought it was beautiful, inspiring and insightful. Or maybe you thought it was weird, more weird and just totally weird. If the later is closer to your experience, you probably went home afterwards promising yourself that you’ll only attend another artsy thing if someone you deeply, deeply care about is involved. Or if Google and your TV both break at the same time.
The thing about the second scenario is that it’s awfully common. And it’s a crying shame. Witnessing something someone else has created is like getting to peek inside another human being’s brain while they’re dreaming. And if the dreamer has taken the time to be trained as an artist, it can be an extra-moving experience.
Because maybe their dreams are filled with bright colors, winding stories and fantastical creatures you never thought to imagine. Or maybe they contain complex scientific concepts and questions, and experiments that make the questions visibly grow and shrink. Or perhaps the dreamer’s mind is a dark, disorganized and messy tumbling whirlpool, and they’re using art to pull everything apart and examine the pieces.
Either way, it’s a privilege to witness art, even when it’s ugly.
But making art is more than a privilege. It’s a necessity. It’s a complicated and vulnerable process that gives a person equal parts frustration and joy. Creating art lets us organize, categorize, identify, explode, imagine, be selfish, ask questions, make answers, connect to God, refute God, reach to each other and find common ground.
We’re all born artists, but some of us grow up to be self-conscious adults. But for the entirety of our lives, creativity is an outlet we can access just by turning inward. And it doesn’t require anything other than a brain and a body. (And some other stuff, if you want to get complicated.)
So that’s the thing about art. Happy making.
One of Gerhard Richter’s Übermalte Fotografien (painted photographs).