My Friend Tracy Roos was reflecting today on her thoughts about what being an artist is about and I thought it was a good basis for discussion. It's something I have given alot of thought to over the last few years. Here's what I had to say:
One of my favorite quotes is this: "Be true to that which exsists nowhere but within yourself."
I find the purest reason for creating art, is to make something that pleases ME. If I try to create with someone else in mind, I usually don't like what I've made. If I make it for my own amusement, I usually love it and others do too.
I think there is a huge difference between creating for yourself and creating for an audience. With making something to please others comes a whole raft of stresses and expectations that we heap on ourselves. When we create for ourselves, it is freer, more honest and joyful. I prefer to only make art for me. I have tried both and I truely dislike trying to please others. So much of our lives is based on peer approval and this is one area where I can really be ME. I think it is my duty to myself to be very protective of maintaining this and working to express my unique thoughts, ideas and spirit. I have noticed some of my most favorite altered artists really do have a distinct style and I love that I can see that in their work. It tells me who they are. They may create and explore new things-new techniques, materials, mediums, but the core of their work stays true.
I guess it boils down to recognizing our own worth as artists and not devaluing what we bring forth. It also helps to have a community of artist friends who can give us feedback in a way that supports and nutures us, because let's face it, while we create for ourselves, it is always encouraging to hear that someone else "gets it" too.
There was a commercial on in Canada during the Olympics that was about a mother talking about her son who is a diver. She talked about his competitions and how after he competed she would ask him: (She is French Canadian, so I am writing it as she said it.)
"Are you happy with you? And if he say yes, then it's okay with me."
The end result was not what was most important-it was the feeling he got from what he did. I think that about sums it up-are you happy with you? If you say yes, then it's okay with me!
*hops down off her soap box and deposits her 2c worth*