If You Don’t Make Art
A few years ago while cleaning our old apartment my wife, Grace, found a scrap of paper. On that scrap was written “If you don’t make art, I think the world might end. Fight.” I sadly don’t have any recollection of who wrote it of when they gave it to me. I thank them if I could remember. Grace framed that scrap and displayed it in our living room. Since moving into our new house, I am continually trying to find time to get into my ceramic studio.
I am haunted by that scrap of paper. An old friend seemed to think the world could end if I don’t make art- or thought it was at least important that I did. I sort of make art right now. I go to my studio trying to relearn how to do things that were virtually second nature for a while. There is always an excuse:
I don’t have a kiln yet
I’m too tired
I have to walk the dogs
It’s really, really cold in my basement
I’m not feeling creative
These are my excuses right now.
There is a bigger question though: “Why do some of us need to create things, art, music, sentences, paintings, etc?” Well I know the answer. That’s not true, but I will pontificate anyway.
Why do we create? I think it’s because we are observant. Not that we are Sherlock Holmes or anything, but we see things that could be there and aren’t yet. Better yet, we think we can create something new that speaks to the human spirit. I don’t know how many new things there are, but I know that astronomers, musicians, biologists, painters, programmers and well, people in just about any field you think of are discovering, inventing or making something unseen before.
So logically you would like to know what art is, right? Well, I can’t tell you, it’s a secret. Ok, no not a secret, but I don’t have a definition. I do know Thomas Kinkade does not make art. I am not even going to put a link, because you should have to put some effort in before your retinas stop working. I guess you could have a definition through negation…. maybe.
I digress. Creating doesn’t not equal art. Technically, I don’t make art either when I make a vase. I work with clay which is a crafting material. But whoever made up that rule hasn’t seen Kirk Freeman’s work. Tell me that isn’t art and I will punch you. I get a little worked up about the distinction between art and craft. I’m sure I will add more on this subject later.
I am still haunted by those few words, “If you don’t make art, I think the world might end. Fight.” So I fight to make art. We all should fight to create.