Why Do We Make Art?



“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.”

—Oscar Wilde


Art, like people, comes in different forms. It is a universal way of expression—universal yet diverse, complex yet simple, but always beautiful.

Some people say they don’t like art, but almost everything is art. Art is not just limited to visual and performing arts; some art takes on different and more subtle forms. Some art was here before all of us, like the sun, moon, and earth itself. Some art is found in the words you say to the one you love, in letters you write for someone far away. Art is everywhere—cliché, but not untrue.

Art might be of different shapes and sizes—writing, dancing, music, and painting—but there are shared reasons for their creation. So, why do we make art?


To communicate

The oldest kinds of art were made to document and communicate. This still rings true today. Writers often have this as motivation. Writing has become a way for them to reach out and touch other people. Art is a tool, something we use to do the things we can’t.


To express ourselves

Self-expression goes on a level deeper than communication. Using art to express oneself is a way of reflecting the soul. Some things lurk in our minds. These things often translate into art that other people might not be able to understand.

To forget the things that stress us out

Your art is yours alone, and nobody can tell you any different. That’s why most people resort to art when everything else in the world takes the best of them. Art relaxes people; it comforts them and gives them an escape from the buzzing of everyday life.


To find meaning

Veering away from the things that stress us out allows us to see the things we’re missing. This is why most artists rely on their art to find meaning and answers to life’s toughest questions. Art connects you with your inner self and, most of the time, your inner self is a better and wiser person than you are.


Humans are creative; some of us just don’t know how to harness this special gift. Most people put creativity inside a box, thinking that it is limited, when in fact it is not. Creativity is everything outside of the box—an endless horizon of different possibilities—and so is art.

One response to “Why Do We Make Art?

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by Rosalie H. Contino, PhD