I was in a World Literature college course when I first heard the explanation of ars gratia artis. Art for art's sake.
I have been out of college for over a decade and just finally have I been able to apply it to myself. I always have had a need to make things. To create things. I have been very frustrated with the whole task. I think, after years of pondering, that I know the root of my frustration.
My whole life I have been told to try to make money with my talents/skills. That was always, ALWAYS the underlying motivation. And that is shit. Complete and total shit. "Ooh, you could sell that." "Yeah, I'd buy that." That is the problem. I have been making and creating for others. Not for myself. Not to satisfy my inner need to create. When you stop caring what others think, when you stop looking for feedback, that is when you can just exist as an artist. And I feel overly dramatic and lofty to even call myself an artist, but ya know what? Fuck it. I make art. I am an artist.
So, I have been painting, specifically, water color. I have made at least a painting a day for about four days, yesterday I did two. And I'm proud of them. They won't be on museum walls, they won't even be on my walls, but I made them and I love them. And it feels so good to just make art because I want to; because I need to.
I don't know how to express my drive without sounding ridiculous. But this drive, this need has been with me since I was a child. And just now, at age 35 have I finally discovered how to satisfy it. It's silly, really. It's so obvious, but when you're constantly told that something "should" be one way, you don't even think of it any other way. This applies to many of areas of my life. In some areas, I have cracked the code: I no longer blindly follow my religious upbringing, and I am doing my best to eat intuitively. But when it comes to self expression, the most challenging area for me, it is just that; challenging.
I feel like the few times that I have put myself out there with photography, with words, it's often edited; and therefore, false, not completely false, just, shall we say, a mental reservation.
In my water color paintings, there is truth because, while they are simply still life; mostly fruit, today I did a flower, they are truthful because they are how I want them to be, not how I think they should be for acceptance.