There’s a reason for everything we do. The way we are now is the result of our past decisions/reactions to life. Then we repeat these behaviours and eventually they become all we know.
Chances are that the reason you write, draw, sing, or make any other art is also linked to your past.
If we look deep enough, we may uncover the trail of crumbs. Let’s go hunt together.
Art as escapism
Dig into your past. What was your childhood like?Although not tragic, mine wasn’t ideal. Let’s not bring out the violins, it wasn’t unusually traumatic. But let’s just say that I often felt the need to escape.
If I couldn’t physically, I did it in other ways. I read. daydreamed. Soon I moved on to use my imagination to create my own world in more concrete forms.
Is art (making it or even consuming it) a way for you to escape your reality?
Art for notoriety
Growing up, I watched a lot of cartoons and anime (well, not a lot has changed). These further stimulated my imagination.
As a teenager, I started drawing manga characters on schoolmates’ notebooks. I created a few comic strips too.
This gave me a little notoriety in school. I was soon doing requests.
It’s normal to aspire to be known for something. And if the means to that end is something of value, why not pursue it?
Is art your way to be recognised and celebrated for your talent?
Art for affection
One of my other creative hobbies emerged after I started learning to play the keyboards at school (It was a welcome option after years of playing the recorder).
I wrote a song to a crush. And through a fateful play of circumstances, I showed it to her. So… she became my girlfriend. Nah, I’m joking! She was not impressed 😂 but hey, it was my first song!
What did I do in response? Wrote another song, this time to express my sorrow. I think I was 14.
Granted, it never worked for me but maybe your art is a good seduction tool?
Art as therapy
The experience with my crush started a pattern in my life: song writing as therapy.
Nearly all my songs are directly drawn from life stories (you guessed it, love stories mostly). If you’re curious, here’s a few samples.
Especially with failed relationships, writing a song helps me process, then come to terms with what happened.
Is practicing your art therapeutic?
Or maybe your art serves an entirely different purpose, a bit like my prose writing phase.
Art as self-expression
Sometimes you just need to express yourself.
My prose writing phase started a long long time ago, back in the Carribbean.
A tropical storm was raging outside, causing a chain reaction inside. Was it because of the power cut, the candle lit night or the howling wind? Who knows.
But I felt compelled to start to write my first novel (unfortunately I lost the manuscript). It wasn’t out of fear, we had outlived much worse. I’d seen at least 2 hurricanes by then. Hurricanes are fiercer than storms.
I started 3 other writing projects after that. I just felt the need to at the time.
In hindsight, all my writing projects (except the last one, here’s a sample here if you’re curious) are explorations of what I would be like if my background/ circumstances were different. They are first person narratives too.
In a sense, I used to recreate the world and be a hero in it.
Am I the only one who casts himself as one of the main characters? (Yes I still do) Maybe I need to be more sophisticated. But I digress.
Maybe you don’t relate to the above either. In which case I salute you for reading this far! What could it be for you? What emotional need is making art filling?
Art to change the world
With my last project, I have been attempting to build a bridge between science and the corporate world.
I mean what if the world of business was truth seeking, ethical and rigorous like science is trying to be? Then instead of tainting science (think biased research), it would accelerate its advances even more. What would that mean for the world? I’m trying to paint that world.
But that means I really need to up the research. I need to be somewhat of a polymath (which I’ve always aspired to be anyway)
Lofty, huh? Well, if you are theoretical physicist, an archaeologist, a linguist or an engineer, I would love to hear your thoughts on my WIP (work in progress).
Is your art aiming to take mankind higher, cause some paradigm shift or just inspire people to greatness, kindness, compassion, happiness?
The list is obviously non exhaustive. The reason why you make art could be a combination of all the above or something I haven’t mentioned.
Hopefully I’ve stimulated your thinking at the very least.
But wouldn’t you agree that life without art would be an absolute misery?
Reflect, Redefine, Rise!