As artists who surround themselves with other artists, we often find ourselves having really intense conversations about art and being an artist. One of the things that comes up most is ‘Why Do It To Yourself?’
There’s something here that really needs to be addressed. For those outside of the scene, the life of an artist has been mythologised into obscurity. People think all we do is wake up at noon and have mental breakdowns. And let’s be honest, the whole waking up at noon bit is an outright lie.
But seriously, there’s this idea that the life of an artist is one of luxury. We don’t work normie office jobs, we must be super happy (read: lazy) all the time!
But here’s the thing: a whole bunch of artists do have to work those normie jobs. The difference is they spend their paychecks making art. They sacrifice so they can create something most people will never see – and when they do see it they won’t even be that impressed. And for those with the ‘luxury’ of not working, they sacrifice food so they can feast on creativity and spend their days writing grant apps instead of making art. We’re salivating at the thought of a doubling of the arts budget in 2024: a doubling which would still see us in the bottom of the league for funding in Europe.
So why do we do it? Why do we spend our waking hours putting emotion into colour and buying lots of very specific material for a project that, if you round it up, will reach 0% of the world’s population?
Because we have to.
Not because we can – as most of us spend our waking hours panicking that we secretly can’t and no one has told us yet – because we have to.
Creating isn’t medicine. It’s not going to fix you. It’s not going to make you feel better. It’s going to take you places. Sometimes dark places. Sometimes places you wish you’d never gone. And in doing so, it grows you as a person. And ok, sure, sometimes you deal with that childhood trauma, or you unburden yourself, but usually, no, you just express the thing that makes you vocalise an abstract feeling into something tangible.
Creating is a high and we’re all addicted. Imagine the luxury of being able to turn the mind off and relax for once. But nope. We’ve got obsessive creative disorder and there’s no stopping us now. Like the old pringles add said: once you pop…
This blog post was written by Shane ‘Woe Is Me’ Vaughan. If you have something to say and nowhere to say it, why not write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.