Art Doesn’t Need a Reason to Exist

I was listening to the May 6th episode of Art Heroes Radio, hosted by John T. Unger. His guest on that episode was Philip Huang. I hadn’t heard of Philip before that episode, but in reading over the background info for the show, I viewed a YouTube video of Philip showing how he raises money. At one point, someone asks him why. Why is he going to make the art he was promoting. And Philip doesn’t miss a beat, saying, “art doesn’t need a reason to exist.”

I have to tell you…that inspired me.

I look at some of the art I have made in the past and I have mixed feelings about it. The paintings I want to paint over. The books that don’t look right. The jewelry that I don’t want to show to anyone. The zines that I look at now and wonder what was I thinking when I wrote/compiled them. I haven’t looked at my poetry in several years.

And I’m not sure what to do with that art. Do I hide it? Destroy it? Give it away? Rework it?

Most of the art I’ve made up to this point hasn’t had all of me in it. I’ve made pieces in my spare time. Or to use up supplies. Or because I’ve felt that I had to make something and my heart wasn’t really in it. Or as solace after a day of working at a soul sucking job (and I’ve had plenty of those).

Fabeku Fatunmise says in his post In The Fight Or In The Flow? that fighting to get through the stuck can make things harder. You push against the stuck and it pushes back.

I wonder if there’s a correlation there. Philip says art doesn’t need a reason to exist, and Fabeku is all about being in the flow.

eyespy2So could it be that when you’re in the flow that you don’t question why you’re making whatever it is that you’re making? When you’re trusting your gut/intuition/whatever and just doing what feels natural. Choosing to walk away and take a break if it’s feeling forced.

Realizing that no one except you can make what’s inside you come out.

Of all the art I’ve ever made, this is my personal favorite. I created it one Saturday afternoon at the ‘grand opening’ of my best friend Vas’ print shop (which I worked at). She encouraged me to sit in front of the computer and play with PaintShop Pro X and see what happened.

And what happened was that I tapped into something that I hadn’t felt before. I went with the flow and came out on the other side with an incredible piece of art.

I think I’ve gotten away from that over the past couple years. I spent some time at the down part of the roller coaster and withdrew inside myself, rejecting anything that made me feel better.

After moving to Florida and spending some time healing, I feel I’ve started to find my groove again.

Art doesn’t need a reason to exist. Make art simply because it’s possible.

Comment Zen:
*If you go over to the Art Heroes radio page I linked above, come back and tell me your thoughts on the videos posted.
*Do you push through your stuck? Do you offer it a snack and check in later to see if it left on its own?



  1. I love what you’ve said here. And I love that you’re working your way back to finding your groove again.

    The cool part about the stuck and the fight and all the ack is that the groove is still there, under all that stuff. It never goes away, even if other stuff gets piled on top of it for a second.

    The picture you posted is gorgeous. Like made-me-stop-to-catch-my-breath gorgeous.

    You do amazing work. And I’m really glad to know you.

  2. That Philip Huang video and podcast w/ John T Unger are still kicking around my head days after you introduced them to me.

    So inspiring.

    And Fabeku is right on…the groove is always there, waiting for us to reconnect with it when we’re ready.

    I hope you’ll keep sharing your beautiful art.

    xo victoria

  3. Very interesting reading! Always love artists exploring what is art? and the motivation for why they do what they do.

    Writers too, for that matter. It’s like a machine, programmed to do a beautiful thing, trying to reverse engineer itself during the downtime.

  4. I love this post! I also have to say, that PSPX pic remains one of my faves of yours to this day.

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