Six Legitimate Reasons to Make Art

Categories: Nitpick Six

Uli Harder/Flickr

3. For Yourself

Success is fleeting, and people will forget about you. By the time you realize you enjoyed this article, you will forget it as you grow excited about the cheesesteak you're going to eat in an hour. After you forget about the cheesesteak you just ate, you will buy some shoes on the Internet. Later, you will go to sleep and your brain will rearrange all of your experiences, feelings and memories into a logical order. You will wake up and spend the rest of the day concerned with buying wool socks.

Do things so you can remember them, not so others can remember you. Dance like no one is watching. Sell drugs like you don't need the money.

Kim Alaniz/Flickr

2. For Yourself

Getting admirers, accumulating wealth -- the worship of yourself. You will never have enough to quell the persistent ache just below your heart and above your belly. The great philosopher Louis CK once talked about an emptiness - -a spiritual black hole that we are all trying to fill. Whether this is innate to us as sentient beings in a wealthy nation or something that is reinforced through the media, it doesn't matter at this point. We all have it. In creating art, you can deeply probe your soul in a search for understanding of your place in the world.

Or you can use it to try to convince people that you're somehow better and less rotten, less stinking and not overflowing with guilt and regret. Maybe someone will believe you. But it won't matter.

Andrew Magill/Flickr

1. For Yourself

There are people out there who will never be able to produce art for themselves. They are busy providing things like food and water to their families. They will never have the freedom or the luxury to create a stupid synthesizer song that makes them and their friends giggle. Wasting your ability to make art for yourself is an insult to every sixteen-hour-a-day worker with fingertips burnt from soldering your electronics. Don't be a dick.

Follow Drew Ailes on Twitter at @CountBakula.


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James Harris
James Harris

I think that as an end result, all art no matter the reason gets a certain...let's call it some kind of vague authenticity score...but the more outside influences get stripped away you develop a kind of super authentic core that just can't be attained through externals such as money, or even the performance of something already created. It becomes something else then, with its own virtual authenticity and usefulness(and I'm certainly not one to knock someone's ability to support themselves by art alone), but never the same as that singular act of personal creation. I consider that moment to be a peak among a mountain range, if that makes sense.

Jeremy Keltner
Jeremy Keltner

I mostly agree with the point you're making here BUT I also support my family with the art I produce as a photographer. Which in some ways is "doing it for myself". But I also love the relationships that I build with our clients and giving them memories that they get to enjoy for generations to come. So it's more than just "doing it for me", IMHO

Cheryl Thomas
Cheryl Thomas

I usually hate your articles (sorry). This one I loved. You probably don't care. I'm sure you wrote it for yourself :). Great job!

Homer K Blua
Homer K Blua

This article is also known as " Art Communists take a crack at capitolism; rft shakes its head" Great article!


I make art sometimes and it is terrible stuff.  I am sure first graders could do better.  But I sure do enjoy it.

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