Why do I make art? I think that's a reasonable question to ask myself from time to time. I've been applying to opportunities lately, and finding different ways to spin it, so figure its good to actually think about this, for real.
There are a lot of reasons people do make art - some people focus on issues and politics, others focus on process and technique, or on an intellectual insight or concept. I’ve always been most interested in taking personal experience and filtering them through the action of painting. The ultimate hope is to connect with others – that my work will be a point of connection and understanding with people otherwise unknown. To borrow from Robbie Hart in the Wedding Singer, "I kind of just wanted to be a songwriter, you know? That's the hardest thing, to write a song. A song that when people hear it...they go, 'Ohh, I know what that guy was feeling when he wrote that'." But ya know, with paint.
The biggest compliment I feel I can give an artist, musician, writer, etc. is "thank God you made this." Like, I know there are a lot of demands on your time, and maybe this particular art form was not what is considered 'successful' financially or otherwise, but it has made my life better, richer. When I think of what makes the world an awesome place, these are on my list. Plus, I feel like appreciating this make me, its maker and fellow appreciators simpatico. I am ambitiously intending to create something someday that resonates this much with someone else, something that is very me. This I would consider being very successful, indeed.
Plus you know, it is really fun. And engaging. And allows me to obsess about color and line. Or not and let it flow with no thought whatsoever, only doing. To make something with my own hands that is a product of my mind and body and movement. To do something that requires no technology, no time in front of a screen, no typing, no feedback from anyone else. Real freedom.
I know my way is a little out of fashion these days - the era of personal expression is over in favor of art that deals explicitly with the issues of the day, though oddly, the personal is still going strong in music, film, theater, fiction... This begs the question, why is fine art not wide enough to hold multiple trends and multiple movements at once - why is there one dominant movement at a time in visual art (at least when you look at the gallery/art fair system)?