Stop consuming and start creating art!
If you love art and art-making, it can be so easy to keep looking at other people’s art, instead of making art yourself. But at a certain moment, it is time to stop consuming other people’s art, and to start creating your own!
Just a few clicks away
In this era of the Internet, there are so many ways to get into contact with fantastic art from all over the world. When I visit Instagram or Pinterest, I can find so many inspiring people all over the place. Amazing art is just a few clicks away.
I can get completely stuck to my computer screen and view other people’s art for hours, being in awe of how all those artists can create such beautiful bodies of work.
The computer age
When I became interested in art, the computer age had just begun. The Internet was still only for the real nerds. The rest of us went to libraries for information and inspiration.
So did I. If I wanted to see art, I went to the art department of my university library to borrow books. But the artists represented in those books were famous. The girl next door who makes art wasn’t in there.
I could admire the work of famous artists like Antoni Tapies or Jackson Pollock, but I could not personally relate to them. They were too far away from my everyday life.
Pinterest and Instagram
Today, this is different. Hooray for Pinterest and Instagram! If I look around Pinterest, I instantly feel which art resonates with me. If I love somebody’s work, I visit the website and start following this artist on Instagram.
I have learned so much by following people who are building their art practices and improving their skills while leading their everyday lives and mixing all kinds of responsibilities with making art. Therefore, I am very grateful for all the opportunities the Internet gives me.
The other side of the coin
But, the danger of having so much art around you is that you quickly can get stuck in consuming art instead of creating art. It is like living in a neighborhood with many fantastic restaurants that serve delicious and cheap meals every night. It is so easy to go out for dinner, get to know all the cuisines of the world, and never have to cook a meal yourself.
However, there is a drawback. If you never cook, you will never experience how it is to go to the market and buy vegetables, to buy a good pair of knives, to bake your first egg, to prepare your first dinner, or to throw your first dinner party with friends. You don’t get to know the pure joy that arises from the process of cooking.
It is true, you will not have to deal with all the frustrations that making your own meals can give you—when the soup is too salty, or your pie has turned black in the oven, but you don’t feel the pride either when your first boeuf bourguignon or your Thai curry turns out wonderfully.
Give more than you take
Making art is tremendously rewarding. Therefore, it is such a pity when you keep yourself from being creative by losing yourself in other people’s art.
A few days ago I read a beautiful statement on somebody’s blog (I am so sorry I can’t find the source again). It said, in order not to lose your creative mojo, you should always give more than you take. In other words, if you don’t want to lose your ability to make art, you should create more art than you consume.
I love this statement, and I believe it is true.
Take days off from Pinterest and Instagram
If you feel that you are losing contact with your creativity, this might be the moment to take a few days or weeks off from social media, and deliberately not open Pinterest or Instagram. That gives you the inner space to dive into your soul and start creating yourself.
That might not always be easy. Looking at other people’s art on the Internet can be seductive, and starting to make your own art can be difficult.
You have to face your fears and doubts, and the path of art-making is sometimes crooked or difficult to find. Beautiful results are not guaranteed, and you will probably make a lot of mess along the way.
The joy of painting
Once you start creating, though, you will feel the joy of painting, too. And if you keep going, you will reap the benefits of making art. Your courage will grow, and you will become more resilient and feel proud of yourself.
Then, once your art practice is flowing, Instagram and Pinterest can come into the picture again. If you use these social media wisely, they can be fantastic ways to share your process and your paintings. They can give you tremendous opportunities to support your fellow artists all over the world. If you create connections, those artists will support you, too. They will provide you with ideas, and they will motivate you to keep going.
And with this renewed inspiration and courage, you can dive back into making art, while keeping your art practice fresh and alive.