Jets Linebacker Aaron Maybin was on ESPN a few nights ago talking about how art is something that he *must* do. Watch the video:
I feel like many of the things Maybin said about making art resonated with me. The reason I got into art journaling was to process some heavy feelings during a particularly dark and difficult period of my life. And I have often joked that art keeps me from having to go to therapy. But, there's a grain of truth in there.
For me, there's nothing so calming as sitting down to carve a stamp. There's nothing that turns a bad mood around as easily as painting. There's no problem that can't be worked out by art journaling about it. There's nothing like art to soothe my wounded soul and make me feel powerful and in control.
After watching the video, I got to thinking about how to verbalize why I create art? And then I realized that I had already written a mini manifesto.
I’m not a natural share-er. Oh, I’m delighted to give you paint or food or an hour of time. I’m an excellent listener and always happy to offer emotional support and/or thoughtful advice to my friends. But I’m not good at being the one being taken care of. I’ll share, but only up to a point. And I feel happy and relaxed in that arrangement, but I still need a place to vent.
For me, art is an outlet. Sometimes it’s even a dialogue. When I don’t have the words, I can usually at least find the colors or the shapes that describe what I’m feeling. It’s no surprise then that I tend to focus on integrating my everyday life into every piece of art I make. It’s rare for me to make something that is simply “pretty.” Usually every piece is built on a foundation of emotions and a tumble of thoughts — sometimes easily recognizable, and other times completely hidden.
Art saves me because it allows me to think. It gives me solace and counsel. Art saves me because it engages my mind and taps into subconscious thoughts. It helps me process the complexities of life. Art saves me because it listens eagerly and offers no judgment. It forces me to face what scares me the most.
But mostly, art saves me because I want to be rescued.
Those words are absolutely still true. I art because I want to and I need to -- they're intertwined for me.
How about you? Why do you art?