Why I make art.
For some reason, people often remark that I'm 'lucky' to have art in my life. Oh Erika, you're lucky you have art. Usually I have a simultaneous and opposite reaction to this - on one hand, I say oh yes I'm so lucky to have something I enjoy so much! And on the other hand, I recoil in my mind and think luck has nothing to do with it. And, both are true. I see plenty of people around me who don't create art who are miserable. And I have plenty of people around me who do create art, and they are much happier and more fulfilled. Generally speaking, of course. Art equals joy. Art equals passion. Art equals flow. Art equals therapy. Art equals release. Art equals conquering. Art equals safety. Art equals excitement. Art equals expression. Art equals reflection. Why do I make art? It's obvious. The real question is why doesn't everyone make art?
The internet and social media offer us the wonderful opportunity of being able to multiply joy. When I create a painting, it brings me joy. When I sell a painting to someone who loves it, I've doubled the joy. When I create a painting and post it online, the joy created is almost limitless. It's almost like a chain reaction that spreads and spreads. This is one of the reasons I create art. I enjoy sharing a piece of my own joy with others. Creating joy for yourself is a fabulous feeling, but sharing it is even better!
The main reason I paint is to express myself, a way of catching and releasing my feelings. It's wonderfully therapeutic. I don't really understand how non-artists deal with life at all! (Maybe they don't?) One question I get all the time is why do they all have teal hair? Which always confuses me, because lots of artists probably only paint people with brown hair and nobody questions them. I paint people with teal hair because it communicates something, just as my own dyed hair does. Everyone will interpret it differently. Teal, to me, stands out. It's fashionable. It's striking but calming. It's retro and modern. It's uncommon. And mostly, I just like it. So why not?
Are my paintings self portraits? No. Yes. Does it need to be clear or obvious? Technically, no - they are not actual depictions of me. Depends how you want to define self portrait. Do they depict my feelings and experiences? Of course. Using an anonymous model is my method of making my story accessible for someone else to connect with. Others can see themselves in my paintings, see their own meaning and experiences. That's why art is amazing. Just like a musician creating a song, just specific enough to be meaningful, but just vague enough to be owned by everyone who hears it.
Why do I sell my art? Money is a currency of value. I don't need money from my art, but I'm not going to give it away for free. Why? Because value is important, and knowing the value of what you create is important. I offer value, and get value back in return. It's how the world works, and art is no different. If someone is not willing to pay the price of an artwork, or believes it is overpriced, then their perceived value does not match the artists' perceived value. And that's fine, just don't buy it. But don't expect the artist to drop the value of a piece to make it less than what it is to them.
Why should I make art? You there! You should make art. I guarantee your life can only improve with the addition of art. Whether it's drawing or painting, crocheting, sculpting, weaving, anything. Not to mention all the other forms of creation that are just as beneficial. So, next time you catch yourself thinking, oh they're so lucky they have *blank* in their life. Maybe consider adding it to your life too!