Why do you create? Do you know? Is there some inner drive that compels you? Are there external motivations?
This is a question I’m pondering for myself today. Why do I create?
I create because I love it.
I create because it expresses something I can’t express another way.
I create because I learn about myself.
I create because it helps me understand who and where I am in this world.
I create because it brings me joy.
That’s why I create. It’s not because I’m in the business of creating. Because I want to make money from my creative work.
I’m pondering this question today because yesterday I was reading about a new class being offered that will teach about what kind of art sells, so that you can create work that is more commercially viable. This looks like a great class, but it didn’t resonate with me. This morning I sat down and considered why, and it comes back to the reasons why I create.
First, and foremost, I create for me. And if I ever shift that to create for others, whether it’s to sell more prints or gain more followers or whatever, then it seems like I will lose some thing essential in the work I create. Me. My connection to heart.
This is no small question to ponder, especially when you have a business that is linked to your art as I do with Kat Eye Studio. Your following is built on what you create. Part of the fears that have come up for me over the last few months, as I’ve been exploring mobile and more non-representational forms of photography, have been due to this. It’s such a dramatic departure from my old style, will people stick around if I change? Will I have to start all over and rebuild to get to this same place? They may seem like silly fears, but they are there.
What everything comes down to really is pretty simple. The whole idea behind my classes, the whole premise that led to Kat Eye Studio in the first place, is that when you create from the heart good things happen. You learn about yourself. You are happier. You are filled with gratitude for who and where you are. And yes, the quality of your work improves. Because that’s what I’ve learned, through my own creating.
My creative journey takes me onward. It changes me; my art changes too. As long as I’m creating from the heart, I know I will be in the right place for me. That may never mean huge commercial success or my art as my main source of income. Maybe I’m lucky to have the luxury that doesn’t have to be my goal or purpose right now. I think a lot of us have this same luxury: We can create what we want to create, without worry about selling our work for a living. There is a certain freedom in that.
Why do you create? It’s a good thing to stop and ask yourself this question once in a while. Ground yourself in the reasons why you create. Because as long as you stay true to your own heart as you create, you are in the right place for you regardless of how you answer the question.