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Why do you paint/sculpt/create?

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Why do you paint/sculpt/create?

Postby Erika Takacs » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:59 pm

One of our members, pehiatt wrote the following in another thread. Patrick, hope you don't mind me quoting you:

"An artist needs to know why he paints not just how."

It took me by surprise and it made me think.
For me is probably an inner need to accomplish something, to leave something behind. There must be more, but I'll have to figure that out later. Something that makes me antsy and agitated if I take time off for more than a week.

So what are the reasons YOU need to create? Hope to hear from as many of you as possible.
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Postby gmoulton » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:03 pm

I create because of an inner need to make something beautiful out of nothing, also because it gives me peace of mind.
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Postby SPARTAN » Thu May 01, 2008 10:12 am

ITS A GOOD QUESTION ERIKA,PERHAPS ITS AS YOU SAID,NOT WANTING TO SHED THIS MORTAL COIL WIHOUT LEAVING SOMETHING BEHIND TO BE REMEMBERED BY........IMMORTALITY ? MAYBE.
FOR ME PERSONALLY I'M NEVER REALLY HAPPY WHEN I PAINT.
I ALWAYS GET ANNOYED AT MY INABILITY TO REPRODUCE WHATS IN MY HEAD ONTO CANVAS.THE LIGHTS NOT RIGHT,THE COLOURS WRONG,THE SHADINGS OFF.......SELF-CRITICAL TO THE POINT OF MADNESS,AND EVEN WHEN THE PAINTINGS FINISHED I'LL AGONISE OVER IT FOR DAYS.
SO WHY DO I PAINT?......I HAVEN'T A CLUE! :?
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Postby Erika Takacs » Thu May 01, 2008 11:19 am

Gwen, those are some very good reasons. I wish I could list the peace of mind part too. Maybe one day...Now I side more with Spartan, many good ideas in my head, unable to express them because lacking the tools. But you know Spartan, every piece of work you make will give your more experience, more skill. Be patient. You and I probably never will be a 100 % satisfied, so aim for 90 % :) Ok, time to go back to my 'unsatisfying' work.
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Why do I draw and paint?

Postby pehiatt » Thu May 01, 2008 4:29 pm

Why do I draw and paint? I have no choice. Its more than a compulsion, it's an addiction that comes with both the euphoria of success and the depression of failure. For me this emotional roller coaster is a way of life entwined within the artistic process and is unpredictable while at the same time irresistible.

The gift of creativity is both a blessing and a curse. There is praise and rejection; recognition and indifference. There is self-discovery and self-denial. There is affirmation and doubt. Everything internal and external is in opposition. My work, or rather my play is a reflection of myself. I have no direction and I ascribe to no particular school or style as I wander the wilderness of my own imagination. Yet while I am there I find the most remarkable things. My medium is the process and the imagery is usually fantasy. Anything that I create is significant only in that it exists at all. Above all else I have come to accept nothing seriously especially myself.

I do not desire to paint pretty pictures or pictures that most people would hang on their walls at home. Instead I prefer to paint pictures that are interesting to look at and are not easily forgotten. Sometimes I paint disturbing images that challenge the orthodox, the status quo and convention because for me there are no questions that cannot be asked or no subjects that cannot be approached providing that they are sufficiently tempered by art to make them palatable. Art is the mirror to safely view the intolerable and the incomprehensible. Medusa’s reality is a bitter pill and without the arts we would all turn to stone.

Growing up and working in the Midwest I learned to enjoy the outdoors, the land and the people that make up a somewhat overly idealistic rural and often irrational society. I also learned very early in life that orthodoxy stifles creativity; therefore, being creative, I had no choice but to learn how to reject those orthodoxies while at the same time not becoming self-destructive. I had to learn how to question everything and discard anything that has no practical value to me. I found sound footing in reason, enlightenment and science. I found solace in accepting constant change and living with frustration.

Discarding convention and exploring new ideas and finding new ways to visualize the world has always been heresy. Artists are heretics and it did not take me long to find out that the world is not safe for a heretic. I took refuge in solitude. Still I cannot turn my back on 5000 years of Western Culture. I see it all around me. I see artistic inspiration in the democracy of Athens and the great republics of Rome that continue to live on in our nations soul. I see the waxing and waning of freedom with each new rebirth that comes alive in the arts. I see Michelangelo’s Florence, the European Reformation of Rubens and the revolutionary Spain of Picasso.

For me, my only freedom is drawing and painting. It’s my world where I can explore ideas by drawing lines around them and let images emerge on their own that are unique even if I am deliberately trying to copy someone else. Every creative hand has its own unique voice. When I draw and paint I have a voice, a small voice, like a child scratching lines in the wet sand on the ocean shore.

Most of all its fun.
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Re: Why do I draw and paint?

Postby Erika Takacs » Fri May 02, 2008 3:07 pm

Patrick, thanks for responding to the post. Your honesty is humbling. And you gave me more to think about.

pehiatt wrote:Why do I draw and paint? I have no choice. Its more than a compulsion, it's an addiction that comes with both the euphoria of success and the depression of failure. For me this emotional roller coaster is a way of life entwined within the artistic process and is unpredictable while at the same time irresistible.


More and more I think artwork by default is destined for failure. It's up to the artist to put a
eak, stop the process and turn it around, make it into success. It's a struggle all the way, every time. Talent, experience, skill, determination, willpower all help, but it is still a struggle. Once I read an an interview with a well-known painter. The reporter asked about the techniques he used. He simply said he had no technique, he basically corrected errors. Unfortunately I can't recall his name.
What do you think about this?
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Somrtime I think too much

Postby pehiatt » Fri May 02, 2008 3:20 pm

But in the end I keep it simple
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Postby johnwalkeasy » Fri May 02, 2008 8:30 pm

Art for me is somthing that came though a back window that was left open. I was 30 years old when I started Metal sculpture. 59 years old when I started painting. I guess most of us have a pupose for the things we do. I,m more like a bug walking around on a cold bathroom floor. Just walk in a line till I run into the wall. And then start walking up the wall. I wonder if that bug knows when the floor ended and the wall started.
Perfection is what drives an artist.
The inability to achieve perfection is what creates a work of art.
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Postby Erika Takacs » Sat May 03, 2008 10:09 pm

I love the metaphore, John, some bugs would just turn backand give up. How you been doing? You haven't showed us new work for some time.
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Postby YogiUnlimited » Sun May 04, 2008 11:43 pm

I'm not gonna lie, I like the challenge of creating something cool looking, but the main reason is chicks dig artists.
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Postby Erika Takacs » Mon May 05, 2008 9:01 am

Yogi, that's funny, that's what I hear too.
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Postby arlynnhr » Mon May 05, 2008 10:19 am

Hmm...it's a good question. I really don't have a straight forward answer... I won't lie, I feel a great satisfaction when people show their admiration towards a painting or drawing I've made, but I think what pehiatt said is what best describes why I do it:

For me, my only freedom is drawing and painting. It’s my world where I can explore ideas by drawing lines around them and let images emerge on their own that are unique even if I am deliberately trying to copy someone else. Every creative hand has its own unique voice. When I draw and paint I have a voice, a small voice, like a child scratching lines in the wet sand on the ocean shore.


I also feel a huge frustration when I can't put on canvas or paper what I have in my head either by lack of skill o materials...
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Postby glomski777 » Sat May 10, 2008 8:45 pm

I think I paint for lots of reasons, I think it's a way for me to have something of my own that only I can create and without me MY next painting would never exist...... Sounds extremely selfish, but you almost have to be, and I try not to think to much if it's "pretty" or nice for the wall, it all come out in a very self absorbed way, I love it. I don't do my work to please anyone but myself. It's my way of getting to know myself and put myself into something. I don't ever really critique myself either, that's why I like it here, because I need it. After I get done with a painting a generally sit and stare for about 2 hours and smile, I get an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and joy and If others enjoy it, it's an added bonus, a very nice added bonus of course :)
I paint for myself, but as much as I love painting I love observing others work, I think sometimes I enjoy finding what others can create more then finding out what I can create.
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The self

Postby pehiatt » Sat May 10, 2008 9:20 pm

Egocentrism and exploring the inner-self is a major part of all artistic expression. Sigmund Freud admired artist because unlike other neurotics artist were trying to work out their delusions and fantasies.

Sane people are not only boring but they are not creative. Only a nut can spend an entire day accompanied by only a pencil and a piece of paper.

Enjoy the insanity; self satisfaction is fine. The trick is fooling the rest of the people that you are still part of the human race, Share your work and share the work of others like yourself. Spend time with thoue you love but save some for yourself.

Some may have noticed that I don't engage in much criticism. I am my own worst critic although my wife makes a profound point or two. The problem is that I find almost everything interesting. I also have a problem with what is considered good and what is not. I can only comment on specific elements and small details when asked. Then I usually conclude that I really don't know anything. So I just turn inward and draw and paint.

PS. I have paperwork certifying that I am a nut. A nice nut but still a nut. I built a professional career on the opposing point of view. Mainstream conservatives loved it. Thats why they kept me around.
Dive into creativity and swim like crazy. Have fum! The world needs us
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Postby glomski777 » Sat May 10, 2008 10:51 pm

Yes Pehiatt that pretty much sums up my life! Trying to convince people that I am not an alien.... usually with failure. Sometimes i look at other people and think how the hell is it possible we're the same species, but that's a different subject.
If my art is any reflection of how crazy I am then I'll take it and run all the way to china! Nothing wrong with having a good imagination and playing along with yourself, right? :wink:
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Postby Erika Takacs » Sun May 11, 2008 12:49 pm

I don't know what's considered sane or insane, I just felt different than most people around me. Weird. Shy. Since allowing to release creativity I've become more at peace with me and the world. But the fear is always there that I'm going to lose all this. So I try to work harder to make it happen. It's a good motivator. Money is too- or the lack of it rather. I really want to make a living from this one day. Hope it happens before I have to go back to a "real" job.
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Why... have no choice

Postby BAReam » Sun May 11, 2008 10:03 pm

Hi Ericka... Why do I do art? For me that is both a profoundly simple, and a profoundly difficult question.
I began studying art at about 8 or 9... I could read by 7 so I guess that's a bit unusual. All the li
arians thought I was this weird, far-out kid carrying armfuls of books that weighed as much as he did every couple weeks. I deeply admired the technical mastery of Titian, David and all the great masters, but the Abstract Expressionists and Surrealists really lit my fire... to the point of saying to myself "this is what I want to do"!! Unfortunately, I internalized my mother saying just "get a job--get a job-- ad nausiam" so; to shut her up.. I did. Getting off the subject a bit..sorry.
I do art basically because I am compelled to do art... but not compelled to do it every day, which is my major shortcoming, if I have one. I need to work on that.
Art for me is always about something very specific, but that something is rarely overtly stated. I usually spend much more time thinking about a piece I want to do and why I want to do it, than I do actually creating the work; which is not to say all my work is always produced quickly or without frustrations. But I guess this isn't really telling you why I do art is it?
It is a deep seated need to be autobiographical in some sense, to tell the viewer something about how I experience and think about the world. In a sense it is my therapy... and I invite the viewer to participate in that therapy. Not always a pleasant thing. But at the end of the day, I always feel better; even if I'm not fully satisfied with what I've created. I can always edit later if need be.
May have left you with more questions than answers; but hey; $@#! happens some times :wink:
Perhaps more later.
all the best... BAReam
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Postby Erika Takacs » Mon May 12, 2008 8:06 am

Bruce, this is a very personal subject in many ways, you kinda get sucked in. :) And the answers are complex and endless, I'm glad so many of us decided to dig in. I can identify to most of the reasons mentioned here to some degree, and yours is one that is important to me too. Looking forward to more thoughts, don't worry about getting side-tracked.
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Re: Why do you paint/sculpt/create?

Postby 42 Mice » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:46 am

"An artist needs to know why he paints not just how."

Because I have a thousand images flying thru my head every second of every day I breath this air around me. It started with gardens & sculpture then classical japanese gardens with highly detailed pencil renderings of individual stones in a composition, to others, the barest of lines & you could see a whole tree. I work with fixed inert media & living, also love to sculpt & shape the land. Permaculture principles can end up producing some amazing 3d land scultping with an equally simple yet complex pattern overlaid from the plantings almost like an artist with his brush strokes & dabs or blobs.. sorry rambling

I dont know how to paint, 6 yrs now & i still dont have a clue what i am doing but boy do I have fun doing it. It is my release when I cannot be working wiht my living sculptures (bonsai) The ultimate, a finished tree ... but they are never finished.. A painting is & thats what i love about it.. the instant nature. With my current lines of thought when painting I can do a large canvas 3x3 in about 5hrs. I spent that with a dremel starting the hollows & deadwood on my eucalypt bonsai. Its taken me 6yrs of growing & prep work to get to this stage. Its takes on average 30hrs a year to grow & maintain a tree the size it is, 12". 180hrs, only 300more to be show worthy AARRGGHHH Why do I do it. I should spend that time painting..

A lump of clay; what forms sleep undiscovered within? - Robert Yellin

Of all sculpture, carving is my love, I prefer stone but have used most everything and after a 20yr lapse finally started working with clay again. What more perfect medium to get my hands dirty again while being creative with them..

So..I guess i paint because it means I can get dirty hands and be instantly gratified... while my gardens & trees need the passing of time.
http://nobleharbor.com/tea/chado/WhatIsWabi-Sabi.htm
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Re: Why do you paint/sculpt/create?

Postby Haleyo » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:38 pm

Why do we make art? After all it is time-consuming, sometimes emotionally painful, and compared to other activities, it's not particularly lucrative.
I make are because I enjoy it, but even more so because I can't help it. I'd keep making art even if I didn't want to.
In a way, it's kind of a "selfish" thing to do. For me, I don't even have a desire to sell my work itself, but it helps define me as a person. At the same time, it allows me to step outside myself and to be a part of something bigger. Sometimes I think of myself more as a tool, like my brushes or paint, for the Muse or the vision that I'm trying to establish.
Also because my personal story began in museums. Paintings were my first memories.
And because I feel guilty if I don't, because I'm meant to. I don't know why.

But mostly because only I can make the things that I envision. It's not a task I can hire out to someone else. No one's going to pick it up where I left off if I die, because no one can make the particular, specific images I create. That's true for every artist. If you don't make it, no one will.
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