Saturday, October 12, 2013

Art for Ourselves or Art for Others?

Kermit the Frog sings "The Rainbow Connection" and wants to make millions of people happy...
There has always been a difference of opinion regarding why we make art.  Do you, as an artist, create a work of art - be it music, painting, sculpture, play, novel or anything else - for  yourself?  Or do you create it for others?

I have met many people over the years who blog, and I recall a good many of them say they blog for themselves - not others.  In some cases they create their blog as a kind of therapeutic exercise for themselves, putting their thoughts and feelings out there on the screen to fill their own needs.  If others come along, happening to read these thoughts and in turn have opinions - it really doesn't matter, because the blogger writes the words for himself or herself only.  Other peoples' opinions and reactions are ultimately unimportant.  The act of artistic creation is an expression of the artist's soul, and as such is ultimately truly  meaningful for them alone.

Some visual artists use pigments or clay or a myriad of other mediums to bring to life a figment of their imaginations.  It is said some cannot exist without transforming these feelings into a vibrant visual representation.  These souls create painting after painting and keep them to themselves, holding on to them as they would their own innermost thoughts.  Similar stories and actions echo throughout the artistic world.

But still others use their talents to create artistic works for other reasons, not simply for themselves.  True, all artists must draw from within to ensure originality, but for some that's not the only goal or encouragement.  For a playwright, the sound of audience laughter, or crying, or even abject silence, is a sign that the story he has written has touched someone in a profound way. Some musicians create a composition, or play a concerto, because they know that by putting just the right notes in the right combination they can change another person's life.

So which is better?  I have my own reasons for the things I do, and the reasons I work to create art in my own eclectic and unusual ways.  I can give my opinion on which I prefer, and defend it if necessary - but I really would just rather hear what other people have to say.

You out there, you who are an artist.  Why do you create art, and who is it for?