It’s tough to be an artist in North America. We have to have a bit of the rebel about us. That’s because the cultural messages usually take some form of:
“If it can’t be measured in dollars and cents then it’s a waste time and resources.”
(As a creative person, I love a country like Japan where their artists are considered National Treasures.)
It’s almost painful to hear people apologizing for their “little hobby”. They hide their adult colouring book and pencils when company comes over. They barely make space for the tools and materials they need to explore their ideas. Or they spend their time telling everyone, including themselves “Someday I will…”.
There’s a secret every successful creative person knows and acts on.
Even if something appears to have no value to anyone but ourselves; it’s worth doing. Just because we love it is reason enough to do it.
I once had a tree trunk propped up in the corner my office. It was about 3 inches in diameter and touched the ceiling. One day I put it on a stand, wrapped it in narrow strips of pink, purple and yellow cloth with some fuzzy yarn thrown in for good measure. It was quite pretty with colour and texture dancing around it. Eventually I moved it out to a shady spot in my garden that needed some colour.
Invariably I’d watch visitors puzzling over it until they couldn’t stand it any longer and they’d ask what it was for. I’d answer that I made it “just because it tickled me”.
The reaction was usually surprise and then they’d smile. Reason enough.
Today, I encourage you to do something you love just for the fun of it. Make something that makes you smile that secret smile. Just because.
On a subway platform
music fell from his fingers,
bouncing around commuters too busy
to hear the gift.
The artist played on.
Melody reason enough.
Listeners not required.
In the freeze of February
a sculptor unlocked beauty
from icy blocks,
daring the sun to a duel.
The artist worked on.
Sparkle reason enough.
Eternity not required.
In the clear night sky
stars whirled, dressed in
Aurora’s coloured veils
While we slept.
The Artist danced on.
Love reason enough.
Audience not required.
— (c) Aprille Janes