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Earthgirl's avatar

For artists, what motivates you to create? (other than the profit motive)

Asked by Earthgirl (11189points) January 18th, 2011

Do you long for immortality? Do you have a burning need to express something? Are you looking for human connection? Or do you not know why, it is just something you need to do, like eating and breathing?

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22 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Whether I’m writing or dancing, it has to be like this – I do it because I can’t not do it.

earthduzt's avatar

Because sometimes my view in life can be somewhat obscure and twisted, and often times when I put it down on paper (or canvas for that matter) I can imagine myself “playing” in the world that I am creating and after I am done I can rejoin the “real world” again. It is kind of like when a kid gets excited to go to a playground it becomes a fantasy world for them there. Climbing the monkey bars and not falling because there is lava below, or on the slide steering the pirate ship to a lost treasure….then it is time to go back home and get ready for dinner, brush teeth, go to bed and wake up for school (real world)

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

My motivation is the feeling I get when I am creating something.It is very hard to describe,but absolutely wonderful! ;)

KhiaKarma's avatar

Restlessness or a desire to capture or excape the moment….conflicting reasons I guess. I always get a little lost when creating, but when I get “finished” it makes perfect sense. I am getting the itch again….I am also horrible about putting off my art.

Oh, and you can make a profit? :D

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m not motivated by money at all, since I don’t sell my work. I just have the urge to make things, and I make them.

Cruiser's avatar

There is something so different about expressing yourself through art. I do it for the thrill of it. Drawing and painting is cool to do but I am no where near as proficient at other arts as my Guitar! ;)

Ever since that first bar chord I get so jazzed by the sound, the feel, the vibration of my guitar. And when it all happens virtually on it’s own….that is nirvana! I know I could write an essay on guitar playing and how great it is to play….but words cannot adequately describe that feeling of spontaneous creation that occ

Arbornaut's avatar

Because i can and i enjoy it.
It also provides great reflection through the thoughts and feelings that manifest themselves in your work. The insight you can get into your own subconscious by looking at your finished creations.
Maybe, does this make sense? who cares..

Arbornaut's avatar

@Earthgirl Hey Whoops, sorry.. just got carried away there thinking about it, forgot i was answering a question.

Jude's avatar

I can appreciate it. I only wish that I had the ability.

Earthgirl's avatar

jude There is a great quote from J. Krishnamurti where (I paraphrase a bit here, excuse me) he says that the urge to create is more important than actually having the ability. I suppose he is saying that your spirit, the yearning and appreciation are the important thing. I always took comfort in that quote because I have the wish to excell and what I would call only a modest talent. :)

Meego's avatar

@Jude I think everyone has the ability to create even you! Maybe you just haven’t opened your mind to the realization that you can be creative.

I have never had lessons but I can play the guitar like I have, the difference is I can’t read music worth a damn! But when I play I play for feeling exactly what @Arbornaut said. So if you have an imagination you can be creative, some just don’t tap into it, but doesn’t mean they don’t have it.

nebule's avatar

I agree with @Earthgirl I think the ability to create is embedded within us…right down to the genetic and biological level creation is within us from conception… out thought processes work through creativity, making new and different neural connections…expression of all that is going on inside of us seems to me the most direct way of connecting with the world and other people..and possibly non-human animals.

I paint, sing and write to explore my feelings and thoughts, to express the ideas I create, to communicate something to a particular or sometimes general audience, to see colour, to find different worlds, to show myself what talents I have inside of me waiting to be discovered, to meditate, to know myself better, to just see what happens on the page, to believe in the magic again, to dig deeper into possibilities, to see how far I can push myself, to create beauty, to startle and surprise, to be impressed with myself, like a child to be able to say look what I did and be proud of myself within one moment among very many where I all too often lose the perspective that I am a precious thing.

torchingigloos's avatar

This is probably the worst answer EVER, but I usually do creative things because I’m bored with my “fun” things… or I’m mentally drained and need to relax my mind. Not a great answer for motivation… maybe I should seek therapy haha

wundayatta's avatar

When I was 17 or so, I was playing some piece in the high school concert band. We reached one of those high points in the piece and all of a sudden these shivers started running up my back and neck and into my head and then out into space.

Even before that, when I first chose the trumpet, there was no question. None at all. Some guy came to our third grade class and demonstrated ten or fifteen instruments and I knew I had to be a trumpet player.

Later on, I found out there is a trumpet player personality, and I have some of it, but not all of it. I like to show off, but I don’t like to, and anyway, I’m afraid I’ll mess up. I’m more of a turn my back on the audience and play kind of guy. If they like me, great. They’ll tell me later. If they don’t like me, I don’t want to know. I just want to get into the music.

A few decades later, after a fifteen year hiatus from the instrument, I was at a work with David Darling and Chungliang al Huang. It was the final night and we were giving a performance for everyone else at adult summer camp. When I arrived, I didn’t know I was going to be doing anything other than jamming with a group, but just before the performance starts, David taps me on the shoulder and tells me I’m going to do a solo improvisation.

I was thrilled and scared to death at the same time. I had always wanted to be a soloist—just me and an audience. But I didn’t know if I could handle seeing everyone looking at me. It was not a place where I could turn my back. I started playing, and this most amazing thing happened. A woman—a beautiful woman, at that—got up from the audience and started dancing—all alone. It was just me and her, and us making love right there in front of everyone, including my wife.

At first there was this feedback cycle between just me and her. I’d play and she’d dance to what I played and then I’d play to what she danced. Then, somehow, the audience joined. The energy from what was going on between us jazzed out into the audience and they swallowed it and turned it around and fed it back to us, which took us to an even higher energy level.

It was a perfect connection, and one I wished I could follow up on, but that was it. After I left camp, I never saw her again.

That moment had been the only moment like that for years and years, and then, last summer, it happened again. I was taking a harmonic workshop. Again, the last night of the workshop, we were doing these jams in pairs. We would stand in line and move up a step as each pair ahead of us finished. My partner and I, the first time, got a small taste of one of those special connections.

Without a word, we decided to get back in line again, and to make sure we were paired again (there weren’t necessarily the same number of people in each line, so you couldn’t be sure who you’d be jamming with). This time, when we started, that same energy grabbed us right away. This time it felt like a kind of jazzy cocoon—more raw, the way a harmonica sounds.

Both of us were completely new to the instrument. We’d only been playing for four days at the time. But the god of harmonicas took our harmonicas away from our lips and applied their own. Back and forth we’d go. Each taking a turn to play a lick, and then the other would respond to it, driving it harder and higher, each time.

Our teacher let us go on and on, far longer than any other pair. There were comments from the audience that it was an R-rated performance. It was clear to everyone the connection we had made, and when it was finally over, the applause was sustained and genuine.

It’s hard to know what to do after you’ve established a connection like that with someone. It’s like she became my harmonica wife in the space of ten minutes. We emailed each other a few times after that, struggling to figure out what it meant. It felt like it should go beyond, and yet I was in no position for that to happen, and so, after a few months, we stopped writing each other.

It’s safer to express that energy when you are with a larger group. When I play with the guys, there is a sort of energy like that, only more diffuse and less personal. It also gets diffused further by the people we are playing for. Their energy is rarely focused on any one of us for a very long time, although I suppose that could happen.

It’s that feeling of being outside myself, in the hands of some other consciousness, speaking in ways I could never speak normally that I want. It’s that feeling that I play for or dance for or even write for. It is for connection—incredibly intense connection with one person, or that amazing feeling of being connected with everyone, everywhere. Knowing that I’m not alone. At least for that moment.

laineybug's avatar

@wundayatta Like you said when you first chose the trumpet, that was me a few years back when I chose the clarinet. I heard it, and I just knew that i was going to play it. I’ve been playing clarinet for about five years and I plan to continue on. I haven’t had a connection with a single person before, but when the whole band plays it feels like we’re all kind of connected. But I know what you mean about the shivers thing. That’s happened to me before on a day that I was playing especially well. I express myself through my music and art, and I don’t draw or play clarinet for money.

Earthgirl's avatar

laineybug I love the sound of a clarinet!!! It has such a beautiful sonorous quality. I think if I played an instrument that would be my choice. Or maybe piano.

laineybug's avatar

@Earthgirl That’s what I thought when I first heard it. If I didn’t play the clarinet my second choice would definitely be piano.

wundayatta's avatar

My brother “played” the clarinet. The experience of hearing him practice in his bedroom right next to mine for ten years or so has left a very bad taste in my mouth about the instrument. I think they should send all beginning players to live somewhere far far away from civilization until that can either make that sucker sing, or they sneak out.

laineybug's avatar

@wundayatta, I’ve been playing clarinet for five years now. I’m no longer a beginner, but my sister still hates to hear me practice. But that’s just because the music I play isn’t really her style. So I also play to annoy her.

wundayatta's avatar

@laineybug Are you suggesting that my brother may have chosen the clarinet on purpose?

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