Art for art's sake

Art is here to ease our own sufferings and to delight our senses, being an artist means to address these sufferings and senses with paint, prose, poetry, song and countless other ways. To be an artist is to show the world a heart beat outside of the body and to place a boat beside the island of hurt. For me, art is not only a call to arms, but a way of living between sunrise and sunset.

 In a world where access to instant gratification tempts us into fueling our self worth by likes, it is important to return to why we began creating in the first place. When I began blogging in November 2008, I had no expectations, not because I was humbled, but because I was only here to make posts for the love of creative expression. I had already spent most of my life writing in journals, on tissues and on random scraps of paper. I did not know the taste of applause. I simply wrote because it made me feel less dead.

The same rings true for when I bought my first banjo. I remember bringing it home and feeling as if the strings were a one way ticket to a country far away. I had no idea how to make songs. All I knew was how I loved every sound that came out of it and every inch of this moon-shaped machine was beautiful to me. I soon began practicing every day, not because somebody was telling me to, and not because I had a show on the weekend, I did it because it made me feel like I was growing flowers out of dirt.

 The truth is my best art begins when I create for myself. Sometimes, sorrow comes creeping in like blinding sunlight from a window without curtains. I could try to shut my eyes, but in doing so, I lose my way. Instead, I let the sorrow become food for poems and songs nobody will ever hear. I write and I sing for nobody but myself. You can call it vanity or narcissism, but I call it keeping myself away from the grave. When I make art for art's sake, I do it because it makes me feel well in a world that too often tries to make you feel unwell. When I play my banjo and sing for crowds, I try to abandon the sense of defeat when nobody cares and I try not to measure myself by how many people come up to me afterwards. I sing for the songs. I sing to keep time from ticking away. I sing because one day, I won't be around to.

I am not entirely free from the prison of over-thinking my art. Even posts like this one make me feel vulnerable and uncertain. Should I post this? Will those who read this want to read this? What am I doing? Should I post this flower photograph? No? Yes? No? Yes? No? There are choices we make every day as artists to do or not to do, to throw in the towel or to keep climbing that endlessly steep mountain. We can refresh our screens until our fingers are sore, we can sing until there is blood in our throats, we can wail when nobody listens and we can define an artist by how many likes they get on an internet platform or a stage which will fade one day like breath itself.
 Or, we can lessen our suffering by making art for art's sake.

“Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.”
Margaret Atwood



  1. You have no idea how much I needed this Amy, why must art for art's sake become so much harder as we get older?

  2. These photos are so pretty

  3. yes amy create for you, because you enjoy the process. but i gotta say, i'm glad you share your creations. :)

  4. This is easily my favorite post you have ever written. This line particularly stood out to me: When I make art for art's sake, I do it because it makes me feel well in a world that too often tries to make you feel unwell.

    This is why I keep writing... this world is so horrific at times (though admittedly beautiful at others). When life isn't going the way I want, I need to keep something going for myself to save me from myself. It's not about being vain - it's about saving your sanity. I could go on and on, but at the end of the day, if I do not create something, I will be only a fragment of my full self.

    One day, we will all be gone. As teary as it may sound, it's true. I would rather spend my time creating things that my heart yearns to share than to suppress myself and simply wait for death. Life can be beautiful. Why not make it so?

    Anyway, thank you for publishing this post - it was a nice little break to my day.

  5. Anonymous30.1.16

    Beautiful wisdom.

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