Why You Should Create Your Own Art
They say necessity is the mother of invention. For our survival, we humans have borne countless creations into the world. In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered a “mold juice” that killed a number of bacteria. His discovery led to the creation of penicillin, a timely invention after the increasing number of deaths caused by pneumonia, blood poisoning, and bacterial infections during his time. Before and after Flemming, humans have created countless inventions that have helped us secure food, shelter, and safety—in other words, ensured our survival.
But because humanity is synonymous with discovery, creation, and innovation, we’ve ceased to invent for the sole purpose of survival. We’ve begun to explore, test our limits, and seek more. We’ve made our lives easier by creating tools, machines, and methods, but life is more than just survival and convenience. Life is enjoyment, entertainment, experience, connection, nature, the real, the surreal—everything. Life is art. And because we want more of life, we, humans, create art.
Art can mean many things for everyone—a means of processing emotions, an attempt to join the world, a way to entertain. The shared core to these meanings is that creating art lets us experience life and its many dimensions to the fullest.
The Necessity of Art in Living
“It’s fun making things,” said Peter Docter, director of award-winning films Monsters, Inc. and Up, in an interview entitled “Why We Make Art” with Greater Good Magazine. We all have our reasons for making art. But for those who haven’t figured out why they do or why they should (create art, that is), here are some reasons why we create art:
- It’s a human impulse to create art.
In the same interview with Greater Good Magazine, KRS-One, renowned hip-hop game changer, talked about being “born to make art, to make hip-hop.” We’ve been making art for so long; it has become part of us—of being human.
- Art allows us to connect with people and to know ourselves.
In the words of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, “To evoke in oneself a feeling one has experience, and . . . then, by means of movements, lines, colors, sounds, or forms expressed in words, so to transmit that feeling—this is the activity of art.”
When we create our own art, we turn our ideals, emotions, thoughts, observations, secrets into something tangible. Through our art, we build a bridge to connect with others and the unexplored part of our self.
- Art as a coping mechanism.
The Guardian published an article coping with depressions through drawing. The article, “Drawing through Depression,” shares how then-twenty-one-year-old student Molly started a blog, The Doodle Chronicles, to deal with clinical depression and anxiety. Doodling helped her see a clearer picture of what she was facing and communicate with her family and friends. It also helped her focus on something else when she felt the panic and despair set in. Many people also turn to art to cope with everyday stress and anxiety or to simply relax.
- Art benefits the mind and our concentration.
A study published in PLOS ONE looked into how creating visual art affected the human brain. They found that it enhanced connections in the brain, between the frontal and posterior regions. “The improvements are associated with better resilience scores, meaning that our results may have important implications for preventive and therapeutic interventions,” the study reported.
Psychologists and artists have also noted that creating art allows the person to achieve “flow,” or a state where one becomes deeply immersed in what they’re doing. The flow is associated with high levels of concentration and enjoyment, which can positively affect one’s mood and outlook.
Whether with pictures, words, music, or dance, creating art holds much potential to improve our physical, psychological, and emotional well-being. By making art, we exercise our greatest function—to create.
Share your works of art with me by leaving a comment below or connecting with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. If you enjoyed this article, you can find more on my blog. You can also read about my experience with creating art in my book, Born to Create.
American Chemical Society International Historic Chemical Landmarks. n.d. “ Discovery and Development of Penicillin. Accessed November 3, 2017. https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/flemingpenicillin.html#alexander-fleming-penicillin.
Bolwerk, Anne, et. al. 2014. “How Art Changes Your Brain: Differential Effects of Visual Art Production and Cognitive Art Evaluation on Functional Brain Connectivity.” PLOS ONE, July 1. Accessed November 3, 2017. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101035.
Howard, Emma. 2014. “Drawing through Depression: The Doodle Chronicles.” The Guardian, December 1. Accessed November 3, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/society/christmas-charity-appeal-2014-blog/2014/dec/01/-sp-drawing-depression-the-doodle-chronicles.
Smith, Jeremy Adam, and Jason Marsh. 2008. “Why We Make Art.” Greater Good Magazine, December 1. Accessed November 3, 2017. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_we_make_art.