I’m not creative.
I could never do that.
I can’t draw a straight line.
I hear you. Feeling like you aren’t capable of making art is actually pretty common. I would guess that most people, if not all people, have struggled with feelings of creative inadequacy at one point or another. And as is the case with most feelings, these are totally valid and understandable.
However, as valid and understandable as these feelings are, they don’t have to stop you from making art. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter whether you are “good” at it or not. Making art is a worthwhile thing to do for SO many reasons.
Making Art Reduces Stress
According to this, spending 45 minutes doing something creative can significantly reduce stress levels on a physical level. Most of us spend an alarming amount of time with those levels riding high, which takes a toll on both our physical and mental health. Anything that can reduce those levels, especially for a sustained period of time, is probably worth doing. The best part? You don’t have to be any good at what you are doing to enjoy the benefit. The reduction is stress is a benefit of the process, not the product.
Art Makes You Smart
Just like a healthy body needs exercise, so do our minds. Whether you are making art or simply observing it, there is evidence that art makes us more intelligent. Personally, I think it’s because art lights up a different part of our brain than we use regularly. It forces us to think outside the box, at least a little, and stretch our minds a bit in order to make sense of the jumble of lines, colors, and shapes before us.
Creation Versus Consumption
It is very easy to get locked into an endless loop of consumerism. We are constantly surrounded by advertisements, media, and even other people, who feed the urge to consume. We buy. We eat. We use. We want more. While it’s pretty hard to completely escape consumer culture, making art provides at least a small vacation from it. I find that the more time I spend making something new the less I feel the need to buy, eat, or use up anything else. My little piece of art may be a small contribution in the grand scheme of things, but it feels good to add something beautiful instead of spending all my time taking away.
Art Builds Self Esteem
Do you ever feel like a garbage person? Like you have nothing remotely remarkable to offer the world? I know I do at times. It’s a rotten feeling, and one I am glad to report that art has helped me with. Unlocking your creativity can remind you that you are a unique individual, that you have a special point of view, and are capable of creating things that literally no-one else can. Even if what you create isn’t particularly beautiful or useful, it is new, and it is yours. It feels good to accomplish something, no matter how small, and art gives us the chance to do that over and over again.
Art is Healing
There are many reasons why art therapy exists. If you ask me, one of the most magical things about art is that it has the ability to say what we sometimes can’t. Deep down in the mazes of our brain we associate all kinds of sensory input with things like emotions and experience. We don’t always realize it, but when paint hits paper or clay squishes between our fingers we are slowly, but surely, letting some of those built up feelings out. When you make art you are expressing what is locked inside in a language that only you speak.
Art is a Gift
Maya Angelou said, “I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” I believe that when you create a piece of art you are giving a gift to the world. You are giving a piece of yourself, even if only a small one, and that gift counts. When people see your work they will feel something. Sometimes it will be a small feeling. Sometimes it will be a big one. That feeling is a gift too, and it is one that makes life richer for all of us. Whether you share your work by actually giving it to another person, or if you simply share pictures of it on social media, you are giving a gift, and that can feel really good.