“Your art matters.” One of my favorite mantras, the quote originates from my most favorite television show of all time, One Tree Hill. It is typed onto the background of my phone where I can see it every day, several times a day if needed. It is a cute piece of artwork sketched into my pocket notebook. I repeat it to myself on days like today when my schedule is full and I wonder if spending the extra time and energy on my “art” is worth it.
Lately those three little words haven’t been enough to keep me motivated, so I thought I would break it down a little… Why does my art matter??
- My art matters because it gives me purpose and personal fulfillment: There is something magical for me about creating art whether that be with a sketchbook, notebook or a camera. It satisfies an inner part of my being that cannot be touched any other way. It makes me feel fulfilled and whole in a way nothing else does. When I abandon art, it is only a matter of time before I lose the motivation to get out of bed in the morning. My art matters because it gives me purpose.
- My art matters because it gives me a voice: I may have been quieter when I was younger, but I still struggle with how exactly to put into words what is going on in my mind. Communicating with people can be challenging for me. I still suffer from a bit of social anxiety from time to time and there are few things I hate more than having to talk on the phone . However, when I have a pencil between my fingers, keyboard keys under my fingertips or a camera in my hand, I am better able to hone exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it. It helps me figure out who I am and what I have to say to the world then gives me the tools to say it in a way that words alone have never been able to for me.
Those are both great reasons but they are also terribly selfish reasons. When Lucas told Peyton in One Tree Hill that her art mattered and later, Peyton told Lucas the same four seasons later, they meant that the other person’s art mattered to other people. In that first season episode, Peyton confessed, “I wanna draw something that means something to someone.” She wanted to create art that gave people something to believe in again. A favorite professor of mine says that art is not art without an audience. So…
3. My art matters because art matters: Whenever I am wondering whether or not my art is worth pursuing, I almost always turn to some form of art to find solace and validation: music, television, movies, books, magazine. These things have the power to speak to me in a unique way nothing else can, pull emotions out of me I did not even realize I was feeling and soothe my soul in the most deeply personal yet universal way. The quote itself, “Your art matters,” comes from a television show I will always credit for helping me not to feel alone during a very lonely time in my life.
This video was built around the art matters quote from the show (which was used twice, once in season one and then again in season 5) and brought me to tears when I watched it. If you have an extra few minutes, I’d definitely recommend it!
Last, but not least:
4. I know my art matters because I’ve already gotten positive feedback: It has been almost a year since I wrapped filming on my first independent short, but I am still floored on a regular basis from the continuous feedback. Through my vision and passion to create my own space to make art, I was able to bring together a special group of artists who were validated in what they love and in at least one case, brought to realize that art is something they want to pursue. That is the best feeling in the world. On the one hand, art is so selfish because it is literally forcing–uh, asking–people to look at what you created for personal fulfillment. But art also has this amazing way of bringing people together. Artists have been given this incredible gift so that they can use each of their unique talents and viewpoints to illustrate and articulate experiences and emotions everyone is going through. There is no greater feeling for me than to know a blog post of mine was able to put into words what someone else is experiencing or that a short film 0f mine was able to capture an experience or emotion of theirs. To know that my art could possibly be cathartic to other people in the same way other people’s art has been to me is one of the greatest feelings in the world. That feeling is probably only rivaled by the swelling pride I feel when someone changes their profile picture to something I took, to know that I was able to capture them in a way that they felt truly expressed who they are in a flattering light.
Let me encourage you in this: Whether or not you consider yourself an artist, know that you were created for a purpose and it is only in that purpose that you will feel fully fulfilled as a person. Do not let anyone else tell you that you are following the wrong path if it is what you feel called to do. Never stop believing in that tiny fire instead of you driving you toward greatness.
Your work matters.
Your art matters.