Immediate reaction from my friends/acquaintances and creative communities I follow online after the election was twofold- The first reaction was "WTF! I can't believe this! How could this happen?!" and right after that was "Make more Art." I saw that everywhere. Creatives reaching out to others, creative or not, comforting them and telling them to get back on the saddle and do what they do best, only now, do more of it.
My own reaction was, of course, shock followed by despair. I heard the battle cry to make more art, but I couldn't help but think "why? what's the point?" My art won't help people who may lose their health insurance. My art won't help stop women from being assaulted by privileged men who think it's their right, who thinks it's cool. My art won't help immigrants who are worried about their futures in this country. I just paint and take pretty pictures. That's not helping anyone. Why make more?
Let me tell you why it's so important to make more art.
Because the act of creating helps me. The time and energy I spend photographing or painting is not spent worrying about health insurance, or about the state of our schools, or the myriad of other things a concerned citizen should worry about. Because I love seeing and making beautiful things. When I'm not so stressed or worried, I'm a much better friend, wife, and daughter. And because these pretty things-- the photos of flowers I create and the paintings I make-- may help someone else. I don't know, and I have no way of knowing. Maybe I will inspire someone to pick up a camera and start taking pictures of flowers, and they are later moved to photograph the injustices in the world and bring them to light. Maybe they will be moved to pick up a brush, or a pen. Who knows? I don't want to presume that my art will inspire someone, but I also don't want to not create and put out it out there because what if it could?
Art helps other people get through tough times too. How many times have you had a rough day and that favorite home made recipe brought comfort? How many times have you looked at a photo of your favorite place/person/whatever and felt relaxed and grounded. Or a piece of music gets you motivated. Or a book or article helps you gain further understanding of a topic. You never know if your paintings, photos, music, writing, or recipe will help make someones day just a little brighter and better than before. Why not put it out there?
Now, more than ever, we need your art. We need to get it made and out in the world by any means necessary. We have to be creative with our medium, with our time, with our space… WE NEED TO MAKE ART. We cannot stop because politicians/lawmakers/government think it’s not important enough to keep funding programs. We need to help support each other with our words, our actions, and our dollars.
So create. Draw, paint, photograph, cook, sew, act, make pretty spreadsheets. Whatever it is that brings life and joy to your soul, do it.
MAKE MORE ART.
And then share it with the rest of us.