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Art is Not a Skill

I’m listening to the Unmistakable Creative with Dave Gray and I’m recognizing so many parallels with why I bother with art at all. Art for me is about learning, understanding, inquiry, expressing and communicating difficult concepts and emotions, as well as indulging in the ability to shape what we want in life.

Many people shy away from art making because they feel like they’re not skilled enough. This makes me extremely frustrated and I want to yell “that’s a cop out!!” I feel like people know better deep down in their hearts. There is not level of skill at which someone has the right to call themselves an artist. It’s not about skill. It’s about something much harder, which is why I think it’s so convenient to use the universally accepted excuse that they don’t have the technical skills to do it.

Making art is so much bigger than the technical aptitude that goes into it (although as David mentions, many times having the technical aptitude brings more confidence). Making art is about how you feel, what you’re thinking about, what you care about, what’s going on. And none of those things require you to be a Rembrandt to do it.

People who make art with little or no skill are exceptional people and I celebrate them! Their sense of courage and their ability to sidestep the judgement and shame that often accompany expressiveness is tremendous. I support these people wholeheartedly because they know what matters and they act on it despite what others think; they have courage. And they’re willing to exercise a rare power. Because they can.

I hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I have: Drawing to Make Sense of the World with Dave Gray.

I make art to evolve myself and my world.
I make art to get messy and to mess up.
I make art to understand what the heck is going on.
I make art to learn.
I make art to hone my instinct.
I make art to contemplate.
I make art to play.
I make art to be me.

Why do you make art? 

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