“The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.” Piet Mondrian (from Artpromotivate)
What makes an artist create? For some it is the process of art- making. Others are obsessed with some particular subject, model or location. some just want to make a living. But does that really explain what makes a painter, paint or a sculptor, sculpt? There are lots of postulations on the subject.
Artist Charles Spratt has several different ideas. He says, “It must be for the love of it—it can’t be for the money.” Spratt is likely right on that point. He goes on to discuss the pleasure of creating and developing new ideas. The satisfaction of selling work is also a good reason many artists continue working, according to Spratt.
In the Painted Generations blog, author Barbara Hartsook gives three reasons why painters paint or writers write. Her first reason is, “to lose oneself in play and discovery.” Artists get lost in the process of creating and by the fascination of experimenting with the materials. Secondly, Hartsook states, “To reconnect with oneself.” And lastly, she says, “To express oneself and tell stories.” What this author has laid out is likely very true with a number of artists, may be even the majority of artists. We play, we connect, and we tell stories.
The LaMantia Gallery wrote on the subject of why artists continue to paint the same subject repeatedly. The writer gives three reasons: “market expediency, pursuit of perfection and experimentation.” Artists staying on the same subject because it sells might be a very good reason to continue with a particular subject. The other two reasons suggest that it is something the artist is compelled to do whether in search of perfection or for the fun of experimentation.
All three writers give good reasons why artists paint. And all are right. “For the love of it.,” is important. To lose, reconnect, and express oneself is part of the process, too. Making a living is vital for most artists, as is the pursuit of perfection. But the long and short of it, no matter what reasons you may give, is, simply, artists create because they must. Inside every painter is a little Voice that says, “Paint!” And writer, “Write!” Sculptor, “Sculpt!” While all other reasons are true, that little Voice is the only one that matters.