Every week I post a prompt in our Facebook community to get you talking and sharing about your art. I’ve noticed over time that there are still many of you who feel like you have to justify making time for your art. Hi, my name is Carrie, and today on Artist Strong I want to talk about why making art is valuable.

When I share prompts to the community I often save ones that feel especially important. Recently the prompt was to finish the sentence: My art is valuable to me because _____. I want to share your own answers today so that you can refer back to them and watch this video again when you need that pep talk and reminder about why your art is so valuable. I have a list of them here.

One of the first I read in the group was “My art is valuable to me because it’s part of who I am.” I can’t think of a more important reason to make art. If we identify making art as part of our identity and we still don’t make time for it, or we still feel like we have to justify making time for it, it’s like we’re having to justify part of who we are. There can be a sense of shame or embarrassment around that. It’s almost like we don’t feel like we’re important enough to be who we are, the full expression of who we are. I can’t imagine a more important reason to make time for our art.

Another answer people gave was, “My art is valuable to me because it is a vehicle for self-discovery and self-expression.” A lot of times we can’t articulate in words or in writing things that we’re going through. If we’re going through a difficult time or we’re feeling even especially joyful because of an event in our lives, art can be that vehicle of self-expression. It can be a way to cope with the emotions that we’re feeling, to investigate them, and to better understand ourselves.

Not only is this important to ourselves and valuable to us, this is really valuable to other people. It can be an opportunity for other people to connect with you or better understand you, and for us to better understand others in our lives as well.

Another answer people offered in the community was, “My art is valuable to me because it can express what I can’t verbalize.” Again, I said this before in the last statement, we can’t always put into words the things we’re experiencing. A lot of times visual observations that we make can even be more powerful than the words that we share. Historically, we actually made art before we invented writing as a species. That also says something. Give yourself permission to create, because that does allow you to communicate with others.

art ideas | artist advice | art resources | art techniques | art teacher | art lessonsAnother answer that people offered was, “My art is valuable to me because it keeps me grounded.” This ties to the notion of self-care. If we make time for self-care and we make art a regular part of our lives, we actually have more space to give other people. I say this over and over again, but I feel like I really have to emphasize that point. I’ve noticed, especially women, and some men, can feel like they have to put everyone in front of them first. They have to worry about everyone else in their lives before they take care of themselves.

Yet, by doing so, we can develop resentment about the care that we give ourselves. When we take care of ourselves first, or make sure that we’re an equal priority in our lives, we actually have more emotional space and maybe even more physical space to give to those loved ones in our lives: to do those things, to clean up after loved ones, to offer care for elderly loved ones. We’ll have that space to do it if we also take care of ourselves too.

The last comment I took note of made me giggle: “My art is valuable to me because it keeps me sane.” I want to end with this one, because that’s ultimately the point. If art is part of who you are, if art is a way to express emotions or ideas that you can’t put into words, or it’s a way to take care of yourself, it’s a therapy of sorts for yourself to cope with emotions or to just disconnect, meditate, and feel grounded, then art is going to be a tool to keep you sane. It helps you be who you are and it helps you fully acknowledge yourself and embrace who you are and share that with other people.

Today I have some homework for you. I’d like you to think about a friend you really care about: your best friend, or a really close family member. I want you to think about a hobby or interest they have. And I want you to write a compelling argument to them about why it’s so important and valuable that they participate and engage in their hobby.

Now turn it around. How does this apply to you? How can you use that same kind of argument, the things that you’d encourage your loved ones to do to participate in something they care about, how can you use those same arguments to help you better articulate and justify to yourself why art is so important?

Be Creatively Courageous: Today I’d love to have you finish the sentence in the comments below: My art is valuable to me because …

Thanks, guys, for watching. If you think someone can benefit from today’s video, please share it. Have a great day, and I’ll see you next week. Bye.