Hey Hey Creatives!
In the first part of this post, I talked about my current struggles, my own creative “why”, and what art brings to my life. I also touched upon what finding your “why” can give you. In this part, as promised, I’ll share with you insights from other beautiful creative minds: Juan, Giorgia, Meri, Angelika, Gabriel, and Cristina. Without further ado let me introduce:
Juan Bautista, Visual storyteller
When Marta approached me to write about my creative why, I almost jumped back at her with a readied answer. “I want to tell stories with my art!” has been my reaction whenever somebody asked me why I do art for a living. It is a common reason among creatives, especially in the entertainment industry. It makes sense, after all. We usually work with and for others, bringing together our effort in a bid to create an emotional response in the audience. Analyzing this a little bit further, we seek others to validate our work and give us acknowledgment, praise, and criticism, so we can continue doing it. We establish two-way communication with an Other, in which we provide an artistic vision, and they give us feedback that will shape the vision.
I am sometimes guilty of going down this rabbit hole too much. How important others are in my work is something that I constantly battle with. I look at numbers, engagement graphics, and guides to network, and after hours of “research”, I feel empty. I haven’t drawn a thing. I haven’t created that vision, and nobody has given me that reaction I seek.
I’ve been feeling a bit lost in the last few years, creatively. I didn’t get why at first. I had a job! In the games industry! Shouldn’t that make me feel proud, happy? There I was, at age 30, going every day to do something that others would play, comment and hopefully like for years to come. From here, the way is up and up, right? No, no, it really isn’t. The road of endless re-works, studying, wondering what’s to come of me still lies ahead. Success might beget more success for others, but it isn’t a guarantee. And nobody tells you this. “Get your first job!” “Enter the Art World!” “How to Break in!” are the messages you’re bombarded with while you study. But you know what? You were already in. Or, perhaps, we’re all outside, because “being in” is a construct. It’s not something anybody can grant you. And that is the key: you have to believe in yourself, in what you’re doing, in order to construct this. It’s not easy. It’s definitely not easy for me. But I’m not giving up, nor should you, even though thinking of giving up could actually be a good thing.
Giving up is always a possibility. It’s not failure, but an opportunity to think back and reflect. It might sound counter-productive, but at least to me, this reasoning gives me peace. Thus, I’m frequently between the polar thoughts of “this isn’t for me, let’s go” and “I could try this, it might just work”. It is in this balancing act that I feel the clarity of purpose I need to go forward. It goes like this: I say, OK, I can quit whenever I feel like, so I might as well try and feel. Suddenly, my mind is freed to explore and imagine. All the doubts about my career, of how old I am becoming, my self-criticism… It’s all gone, and I am free to move forward. It’s at this moment that I rediscover a seemingly lost feeling within me.
I’m talking about wonder. Let us go back a few years. When I was a kid, I didn’t care for statistics. I was constantly drawing at home, in school, until late during the weekends. I drew because I liked something I had seen, and I wanted to see if I could do something similar. I wanted to be able to amaze just like I was when I saw what others had done before me. One of the first thoughts I remember saying out loud, related to this, was “I want to work in the Ninja Turtles factory” (I was a big fan of the 80’s cartoon, what can I say). It might sound like a somewhat normal, inconsequential sentence by a 5-year-old, but in my case, it has guided me every step since. I did not particularly want to be a factory worker or even design ninja turtles. Not really. What I wanted was to have another little kid look at something I had made, fill his eyes with wonder and inspire them to do something creative and fulfilling. You know when someone repeats a story that you told, or even better, improves upon it with creativity, joy and remixes it with other things they might have experienced? That is what I want! I want to make others retell, remix, react.
I want to tell stories. That is my creative why.
You can find more about Juan here:
Giorgia Louise Jacques, Scientific Illustrator and environmental artist
I look at the diversity of animals and it never fails to stun me… I really wanted to illustrate the beauty and weirdness that are animals, especially bringing attention to endangered species, for example, chameleons have bones that glow under UV light and through their skin. I find it so incredible how they all have unique evolutions and how many don’t have any explanation they just are the way they are and I wanted to show these irreplaceable traits and my love for animals in my art. I wanted to show it in a way without it being cute and cuddly and more intriguing so that people might want to start looking to find out about these animals too. So I started experimenting and found out that my favorite aspect was showing the tiny details in animals, from the inside, their bones. I chose bones because I feel that a lot of people know what these animals look like on the outside and I wanted to show these animals in another aspect that they wouldn’t normally see.
Bones also get a bad rap with being related to death, but death is also an important part of being alive and I wanted to preserve that idea. But I feel that it’s really important for me to draw because it’s my message to those that look at my work. To make them think that they are incredible and have parts that human anatomy could never recreate and that if we don’t start responding to their needs maybe we won’t have these inspiring crazy animals that are almost like mythical creatures, but they actually do walk around in this world at the moment. I want these animals to stay as long as possible on the planet and this is me drawing, which is my way of speaking for animals that can’t speak for themselves.
You could say well that’s not really answering why you draw… it could be that in five years you don’t draw animals, why do you draw, what makes you pick up the pencil and press it to the paper to make your marks… and in that case why do you draw? And right now I would probably say something maybe that art is a passion or it’s a hobby, a passing of time, an experiment, a feeling from within, an emotion, a battle it could be peace itself. But art is none of that. It’s what you decide it to be in that moment… it evolves there is never a definite answer it is ever-growing and changing and evolves along with you.
I draw because I am passionate about the things I draw and I want to share all of my passion with you, and maybe grow a new passion in you.
You can find more about Giorgia here:
Meri Via, artist, psychologist, and art therapist
I think making art is more an impulse than a premeditated thing. I can think about reasons and theories but I don’t think they always make sense. It’s just a need. The language of art is more like the language of emotions than one of the reasons, so there are not always words to explain it.
I’ve always been a person of not many words, it’s not always easy for me to explain my feelings and experiences, or even my thoughts and beliefs. So, for me, art has become a way to explain all these things I don’t have words for.
It’s also a way to cope with reality, with the darkness and all the matters of life and death. I tend to have my feet a bit too much on the ground, being very literal and very cautious and thoughtful about everything. I’m the kind of person that makes you come back to earth. And sometimes it’s a bit heavy to live like this. So art helps me fly and make my mind less literal, less heavy, it’s a way to make reality a bit lighter.
Marta: I know that you are also an art therapist and your artworks really have a big emotional impact every time I look at them. Could you talk a bit more about this? What made you go in this direction?
I graduated in Psychology some years ago, but I never pursued a career in the field. Some years later I found my love for it again when I studied a Master’s degree in Art Therapies. My formation in art therapy has helped me use my art to transform and understand myself. Before that, art was an escape from reality, a distraction.
Now, my drawings and paintings are usually a reflection of my feelings and needs. I tend to mix animal and plant elements with human bodies as symbols for my emotions and perceptions. I love using my drawings and paintings as a way to know myself better and express my feelings and concerns. Sometimes, I won’t deny it, it’s just for fun or to relax, to distract myself from the weight of reality, but other times it’s to cope with it and process it in another way.
Art brings us an opportunity to heal and to grow. It has a language that is more similar to emotions than words. Sometimes it’s hard to express a feeling or a stressful event with words, because they are processed in different parts of the brain. Art, on the other hand, is more abstract and symbolic, like emotions, so it’s easier to cope and externalize the feelings with it.
There’s a risk, though, in using art as a coping mechanism. Because if it’s not used properly, with some insight and therapeutic space, one can get stuck and keep reproducing the trauma or stressful event without moving on. This is why if you need to cope with a trauma or something that’s getting you stuck, it’s important to seek the help of a professional.
In general, art gives us a space for ourselves, it brings us love and admiration from others; it models and trains our brain, it keeps us mentally and creatively active, which is often a source of satisfaction, it can be challenging in the best way, it helps us deal with our internal problems and emotions and it’s a way to know ourselves better; it can be really fun and satisfying…
Art can be a totally different experience for everyone but most times, however, we use it, either creating it or consuming it, it’s a very enriching experience.
You can find more about Meri here:
Angelika Rasmus, Traditional artist & Illustrator
It’s hard to give just one reason on why I make art. It has always been something deeply ingrained in my life, and at the beginning, I didn’t really think about why I do it. It was simply a natural thing for me to paint or draw every evening, something I enjoyed. I suppose it also helped me go through some tough times in my life as it was something that I distracted myself with when things were difficult. It was calming and soothing, almost like meditation. And it still feels like that most of the time.
Creating is also like a way of channeling emotions that I can’t put into words. If other people can relate to those images and emotions, even better. What I love about art is that it allows you to convey a silent message; it’s a language of its own. What makes it even more interesting is that the message will sometimes take a different form depending on the viewer.
Marta: You’ve mentioned in one of our conversations that for a long time you couldn’t find your own place and in this artistic world. What made you much more sure now where do you want to go with your art?
As much as I loved drawing, for a long time I didn’t know exactly what kind of art I wanted to do. It took a lot of exploring to get to my current style and I needed to gain more confidence as a person to really make the art that I wanted. I’m still not quite where I want to be, but I’m getting closer… I think it’s something that shouldn’t be rushed through and we need to accept that everyone’s path will look a little different. It was also the artist community on Instagram that helped me, especially during the pandemic. It is easy to feel isolated as an artist working from home, so being able to connect with other creators and share your thoughts and worries really makes a huge difference.
You can find more about Angelika here:
Gabriel Garcia, traditional and digital artist
Why do we draw, why do we paint or create? I believe that this “why” varies over time. In the beginning, (for example in childhood) the “why” is usually because drawing is great fun (I have never met a child who was bored with a pencil in his hand). As we grow up that “why” changes, as do our motivations in all areas of life, sometimes there is no “why” and we abandon it for a long time, as for example in my case.
There was a long time in which I didn’t have a “why”, did I lose it, did it disappear? I believe that it was neither lost nor disappeared, it was simply asleep. Why do I believe this?, because I believe that something that is born from within us, is not lost and it only takes something, such as a situation, an event, or a certain action for it to awaken again. The event that awakened my “why” was when I went through a very painful situation for me, the death of my father. One of the days after my father left us, helping my mother to move house, my “why” was in a cupboard, in the last drawer of that house from which we would leave and not return. I found my drawing materials (an eraser, a couple of pencils of different hardnesses, and a couple of drawings). It was then that I remembered how much my father liked to draw and how much he liked me to draw. At that moment, I wanted to use those materials to draw again, just as I did with him. My “why” had awakened.
Today, I draw for many reasons: I like challenges and drawing is a difficult task that demands a lot of discipline, it pushes you to the limit on many occasions, it pushes you to surpass yourself in each work. Besides, I believe that in every drawing, no matter how good or bad it is, there is something in it from my past, it is the result of the road we have traveled. This path is like life, it teaches you that from something “bad” can come out something very good. My “why” today is the sum of all the “why” of the past. What will be my “why” tomorrow? I don’t know, but what I am sure of is that this time I won’t let him go to sleep.
Marta: When I look at your body of work, it is clear that your preferred subject to draw are portraits. Why is that?
People are trained to recognize faces and expressions. This inherent human characteristic is what gives any individual the ability to judge any of my works: portraits.
Painting or drawing a portrait is not only representing a face or a body, it is the fact of interpreting a person, understanding their emotions, studying their features. Moreover, if we want to be precise in the representation of the model, we must be very demanding and precise or we will not be able to capture what we want.
Perhaps the sum of all these reasons is what makes me addicted to the artistic representation of the human being.
You can find more from Gabriel here
Cristina Alegre, Artist of delicate crafts – jewelry, drawing, and painting
Since I was a little girl I felt attracted to art. Thousands of ideas would always wander through my mind and it was really easy and satisfying for me to make things with my hands.
When it was time to decide what I would study at uni, I had heard so often that Fine Arts was a “bad option” since it didn’t secure a job that I found it really difficult to make up my mind. But at the end of the day art was the only thing that made me dream, so I followed my instinct.
During my studies, I learned techniques and concepts and I started thinking about what I wanted to create and how which lead to a sort of personal journey wondering and realizing who I was and why I wanted to create. It has been such an enriching experience all the way!
Marta: What I find very interesting about you Cristina is that you are a seeker. From the beginning, you were exploring different mediums of expression. After immersing yourself in painting, drawing, and fashion, what made you stay at this moment with the jewelry?
When I moved to Madrid I started working in a fashion store. I was near to the world that I love, but deep inside I was asking myself: and why? I thought I will be here until I find a better job. But what job is that? Madrid was a new city for me and it let me the space to look inside and reflect: if I could do whatever I want (without thinking about money or fears), what would I want to do? I found the answer when I discovered a little jewelry school in one of my walks. I loved fashion… and I loved jewelry! I had a lot of pictures of jewels inside my laptop, ready to inspire me when I was in need. I had been collecting them for years but I didn’t even know that I wanted to study it or even trying it! My fears were blinding me. So when the idea popped up at the right time, far from my comfort zone, I was ready to see it.
Ever since finishing my degree, I have continued drawing, painting, and creating. And each project and art piece I’ve produced has been a new chance to think about my WHY: I create because it connects me to reality, or at least a reality outside my head. My mind is constantly having loads of ideas and barely rests so I need to “bring them out” in form of drawings, paintings, or jewelry, as I feel that otherwise, my imagination would have no limits and I would paralyze. In order for my ideas to grow and evolve I need to make them tangible. Then my mind can rest, keep learning and eventually not be (so) afraid of mistakes.
I began studying artistic jewelry one year later when I got the money and the time to do it. But I started full of fears and insecurities: will I be good? Talented? Will I be worthy and capable? Am I too old to begin a new technique? I decided to follow my guts and do it despite everything.
I’ve learned a lot during the last years, and I still ask myself: what do I want to do and why? Inside the jewelry world, there are so many options and resources, a universe of possibilities. So I try to work and keep going forward. And meanwhile, I live and change, so do my interests and wishes. And luckily, the artistic work follows that path (if I am connected to myself and let myself listen). I feel I’ve been searching my whole life and that I’m still searching. I don’t know if I’m there yet, or if I have reached the WHY… but I’m sure I’m closer every day.
You can find more about Cristina here:
It was so interesting and enriching to learn about the “why’s” of all those wonderful creators. It expanded my own vision and opened possibilities I haven’t thought about before, yet I’ve found that I deeply connect with them. I hope you will find here something valuable for yourself as well and that it will help you on your own artistic path. I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to write in comments your reflections on this topic, why do you create?
Now go, explore, learn, keep creating and bring Magic to your life 🙂