Blog / 2019 / Why Do You Make Art?

May 13, 2019

[video transcript]

I have hinted at my reason for making art over the years, talking about definitions now and again and comparing art to religion, but, from here on out, I intend to be more direct. I want to inspire more artists and non-artists to view art as a way of saving the world. I want to be a part of a revolution.

To sample the human connection my art creates, there is my newest body of work. To get a taste of the sharing I do (and for a look at just how much environmentalism impacts my choices), check out this video. There are a myriad of ways you can make your pennies do good at least for a little while: check out my shop to see how you can spend money on my art!


From their tone of voice and from the way that they were looking at me so earnestly, I suddenly realized that this person that I was talking to was trying to impart wisdom upon me. They were telling me the story of the time when someone else had asked them:

Why do you make art?

Is it for human connection? Is it to share of yourself? Is it to make money?

The implication of sharing this story with me is that I too should ask myself this question—why do I make art?—but the thing is that I already know my answer to that question. And I’ve known it since Day 1 of my career.

I get that different artists have different journeys to make with this question. But it was important for me to answer the question from the very beginning, because I’m someone who’s very aware of my impact on the environment, and I was going to be making objects. And I wouldn’t have been able to make my art objects without knowing that they were meaningful. It just wouldn’t have made sense to me to be adding more stuff to the world unless that stuff really matters. So I needed to answer the question from the very beginning.

So the person who was trying to impart wisdom to me, they didn’t. But they did give me really useful feedback. And that’s that I’m obviously not doing a good job of communicating why it is that I make art. So I’m going to fix that today!

I make art in order to save the world.

And I know that that reason might seem outrageous and maybe even a little egotistical, but it’s not, and I want to explain why using the three other reasons that were given before: human connection, sharing of yourself, and making money.

Making art to make human connection. I think that most of us at some point in our lives feel like nobody gets us, like we have feelings that other people never feel—like we’re alone. And then at some point we also end up encountering an artwork that proves to us that that’s not the case, that at least someone else gets it because they made art about it. And that renewed human connection that we get through art saves us a little bit and helps us to be better connected with the rest of society and to want to contribute to it and to contribute to the happiness of others. It is a good in the world. So, that human connection that comes from art is saving us.

Making art to share of yourself. I definitely make myself vulnerable through my art. And I think that when others—both artists and non-artists—see me making myself vulberable, it makes them want to be braver too. And a world where people are braver and braver every day, that’s a world where something good is going to happen.

Making art to in order to make money. When artists make money with their work, they are saving the world just a little bit. Every penny that is spent on art is a penny that, for the moment, cannot be spent on violence. I’m talking about the terrifically expensive violence of war. I’m talking about the violence of the ongoing slave trade that is still a plague on our society. I’m talking about the everyday violence of corporations who are destroying our environment and destroying our health with their products. So whenever money—any little bit of money—goes towards art, that money, for the moment, is going towards a good in the world. Something that’s fostering human connections. It’s making people braver. It’s bringing good to the world.

I make art in order to save the world.

This video is made with love and microdonations from my community!

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


To receive an email every time I publish a new article or video, sign up for my special mailing list.


If you enjoyed this post, Ko-fi allows you to donate. Every dollar you give is worth a bajillion to me!