I used to be obsessed with sketching. But somewhere along the way, I lost that initial connection to the act of drawing. At some point, I began to focus on what was “good” or “good enough” (for what/ whom?). I started to worry about making all of my art “matter,” wanting to make my projects obviously meaningful and moving. And in the process, I stopped loving what I was doing in the unconditional way that I used to.
In the beginning, it was simple. I was overwhelmed by a desire to capture the beauty in the way light hit something and the shadows it cast. Everything I saw drew out this desire in me, no matter how mundane. It could be the shadow thrown by a banana onto a breakfast plate; I didn’t care. This desire drove me to draw, and draw, and draw.
I wanted to be realistic, accurate, and detailed. But that’s not truly what I was in it for. I wanted to like my final product, yes, but that wasn’t the only thing driving me. It was the act of drawing itself, of making art, of capturing something—whether it was beautiful or not; whether it “mattered” or not. The act of making art mattered to me, whether or not someone else looked at what I made and decided that it mattered to them, too.
I guess that’s really what it all comes down to: does your art matter to you? If it does, you can stop worrying about whether someone else will find it meaningful. If you get pleasure out of creating art, if your art matters to you, then it matters. Even if it doesn’t “matter.”
What makes your art matter to you?
Does this charcoal sketch of a church ceiling in Bath, England have an obvious message that matters? Or is it the process (and the trip I took there)–which makes it meaningful to me–that matters the most? (Drawn in 2011)