I've been watching a lot of stuff from Corridor Digital lately.
One of their recent podcasts with a well-known Youtuber brought up a topic that's been knocking at my brain for the past few years: why do you create?
There's always a goal when you create things. In a commercial setting, that goal is to achieve certain effects requested by a client. Fine. But outside of that, what's the goal? What is the purpose of doing what you are doing?
Recently I've been grappling with the line between "creating for yourself" and "creating for an audience." A few perspectives I've encountered stuck with me:
You create for the joy of creating.
The things you make bring YOU joy. You enjoy the process, and maybe embark on some kind of self-discovery while doing it. The act of creating is in itself the goal, the work, and the reward.
You create things that others enjoy.
The things you make bring joy to the lives of others. You make fan art, illustrate peoples' OCs, find a group of people and please their interests.
You create to be useful.
The things you make somehow better the lives of others. If you are making art, it informs or pushes some boundary. You make comics that grasp attention and explain important concepts, or illustrations that highlight modern issues.
You create to be productive.
The things you make either make you money or build a skill that will eventually make you money.
The consensus on Corridor Cast was more or less a mix of all of these, with emphasis on the idea that the feedback from the crowd is what really pushes artists to keep going.
For a long time I felt like "wanting positive feedback from others" was a sign that you're making art for the wrong reason. This came partially from my own experience in college, and partially from the words of people surrounding me. This caused me a lot of internal stress because that's exactly what I wanted - to make art that would make other people happy or excited.
I also realized that I have this whole set of unrealistic beliefs and expectations surrounding art, such as the idea that everything you make needs to be part of a greater strategy to improve your overall ability. I very, very strongly embodied that fourth mentality - everything must be productive or it's a waste of time. It's no wonder I lost the joy in creating, looking back. I've also since done away with the "references are cheating" mentality.
The thing that made me really sit down and think about this topic this week was my crippling indecision about which project to work on. I found myself daydreaming about working on a new game, a WIP game, and a WIP isometric illustration, but I kept telling myself that if I was going to make art, I should be doing some kind of figure study or environment study to improve in those areas. I didn't want to do those things, so instead I ended up doing nothing.
"Argh, why isn't art fun anymore!?"
Maybe because you're constantly pushing the fun things aside.
I didn't expect to glean any wisdom from Logan Paul, but here we are. 2020 is full of surprises.