Pondering Spawned asks a great question: What drives us to create?
On the very first day I started blogging, I came across Pondering Spawned and this intriguing question. I have written poems and short stories (and have a couple possible novels in the very beginning stages), as well as drawn pictures and designs.
For me, I really create when I have an idea that speaks to me, so to speak. It resonates in my soul. These ideas can come from anywhere. Something, anything, I see or hear can spark in my mind, often combining with other thoughts and experiences. When this happens, most times I am inspired to write. I start writing or typing, and the words just flow through my fingers.
Now, that’s really more how I create, not why. It’s not my motivation. The main reason I create is because that is my preferred method of communication. Also, I enjoy it. I like to write. I draw some too, but mostly I write. I express my emotions and thoughts and ideas by writing them down. I feel a sense of accomplishment when words come together in ways that seems to fit exactly what I am thinking or feeling, even if I have no plans of sharing it with anyone.
But that is just me. One thing I’ve learned in my life is that everyone is different. But even though we are different, in so many ways, we are the same.
So why do we, as human beings, create?
Someone much smarter than me once said that “Necessity is the mother of all invention.” In other words, need. People create something new in order to fulfill a need. It’s easy to see this in terms of physical inventions such as bridges, trains, and the light bulb for example. But what about art? Why do we, as human beings, create art? Is it to fulfill a need? What needs does art fulfill?
Most likely, there are as many reasons for creating art as there are artists. (And everyone’s an artist.) But if we take a step back and look at several artist’s reasons for creating, perhaps we can find some similarities between them. Which is exactly what Ponderingspawned’s World Through Our Eyes is all about. It is a gathering of artists sharing and discussing art and ideas about art.
I’m not going to go through each and every one of the artists featured so far, and pick apart what they said, and try to twist what they said to fit my ideas. They’ve said their reasons already, and it’s not for me to (incorrectly, no doubt) interpret them for you. If you haven’t yet, or if it’s been a while, I recommend you go through them and experience what they’ve shared for yourself.
While art and the motivations and reasons behind the art can be examined, interpreted, picked apart, critiqued, and defined, art is often personal on a level that cannot be defined. It can only be felt. The artist decides what to create, based on whatever their inspiration is and what method and medium they choose. And ultimately, each individual person that views that creation decides what it means to them.
What I want to do is take a broad look at all the responses, and look for common themes. Take a look at the big picture, or as big a picture as I can with 13 featured artists. (Insert shameless plug on April’s behalf for all of you reading this to submit your own art and reasons for creating to WTOE! You know you want to!)
As I’ve read through the submissions again, I have noticed some themes running through some of the responses. For example, many of them (including myself) bring up communicating with, or connecting with, other people.
Communication is a need. There is a fundamental desire to be part of something larger than ourselves. The way to do that is through communication of some kind. Through communication we can reach past ourselves out to others, both in sharing what we know and feel and experience, as well as learn from what others know and feel and experience.
Art is used to communicate on so many levels. Art has been used throughout history to record the history of civilizations; to teach; to express beauty, power, good and evil on a cultural level. Art is used in marketing to express value and appeal. Art is used in propaganda to sway public opinion one way or the other. Art is used as a way for people who don’t speak the same language, or have other obstacles with speaking, to communicate.
However, art is also used to communicate on a much more personal level. For me, I have written poems to express feelings for loved ones, or vent feelings of depression or anger, which I would only share with people I was fairly certain would understand and care. I have written short stories to share experiences, thoughts or ideas with others. The story I submitted to WTOE was one such piece. I often use my usually formless art to express things I can’t put into words, and I use poetry and stories to share the many things I can’t draw to my satisfaction.
Controlled Chaos, Matt Chase, Jonathan Hilton, April, and Reyeshine also all talked about communicating with or connecting with other people, and sharing themselves and their experiences with the world. They do it in their own way, and for their own reasons, such as using art to help people heal, encouraging others to create, and inspiring others.
Abigail Lu and Madeline Laughs didn’t mention communicating with others, but they do talk about sharing their art. Literally. Abigail talks about making homemade food for her family, and Madeline creates various items and gives them away. Sharing is a form of communication. Perhaps a little less specific than even the vaguest modern art, selflessly sharing the results of one’s hard work is a way to express caring, joy, and gratitude.
A couple of other artists talked about a release, an outlet for emotions. They talked about a desire to see beauty in the world (Rainey Daze), an inner drive that compels creation (Grayson Queen). What else can one say? How can you describe a desire to write, or draw, or paint, or do something, which comes from deep within? How can you explain the feeling that if you don’t create, you will break, fall apart, or explode? This might be something not everyone feels, but it’s like hunger, driving one to find food, only the push comes from your mind, your heart, your soul. Maybe that’s not what Rainey Daze and Grayson Queen feel. I’m not trying to put words in their mouths, I can only write my words in the context of what I feel.
This is not a complete list of reasons why people create, or even why these people create. I haven’t even mentioned all the artists featured so far.
Wendy uses art as an escape, and a million other things. Purnimodo creates because she is. She also feels that everything is a work of art, something with which I wholeheartedly agree. And Amethyst Rock Star creates because of love, perhaps the greatest reason of all.
All of these artists have other reasons they mentioned in their submissions. It’s possible that all of the reasons mentioned influence all of us in some way or another, just in different ways and on different levels. Likely, there are other, possibly deeper reasons still, why we are all interpreting the world inside us and the world around us through art. Communication, sharing, and an outlet for emotions and thoughts are just a few topics I noticed that some of these artists seemed to have in common with some of the others.
What have you noticed? Are the motivations and creative forces behind art too personal and varied to put into categories? Do you feel art fulfills a need?
How would you answer Pondering Spawned’s question – What drives you to create?