In the first post of this series we talked about looking at art, or any kind of creative endeavor from a fresh perspective. If you havn't read it or seen the video then go do that before you continue or you'd be a bit befuddled!
Now, let's forget everything we think we know about art and what it should be. Forget about our careers and clients, our assignments and grades, our strengths and weaknesses, our fans and critics, and just play again, as if we're all 5-year-olds!
Follow along with the video to play our first game, Ramen Heads, then read on for the rest.
PLAYING WITH ART vs WORKING ON ART
When we stop to ask why we make art, we might find out that although money, praise and a sense of accomplishment can be such enticing rewards, they're all extrinsic to art.
Extrinsic is defined as:
"a: not forming part of or belonging to a thing b: originating from or on the outside."
In other words they are not part of the very activity of making art itself. If you do art mostly for the extrinsic rewards, then how would you avoid disappointment? At one point or another, you will likely feel you didn't improve your skills enough, you didn't receive the praise you were hoping for, or you didn't get the pay you deserve.
And if that's your motivation to do it in the first place, you have less energy to keep going after each setback. You start to worry that you're not good enough, that you're not getting "there". Maybe you are "there", you have a good job, with nice pay, and a lot of fans, but you're not having any fun any more, and you're wondering what happened.
Could there be another way to do it?
What about a different motivation? What about doing it for its own sake? If you make art, or do anything else for that matter, simply because you enjoy it, and don't need to get better, or get highly paid or famous for it, then you cannot be disappointed in the same way as if you had a goal in mind.
Doesn't this sound more like Play than Work?
The irony is, when you do something for its intrinsic value, when you PLAY with something, you're more resilient to failure (there is none), which means you can do it without fear or frustration(unless you wanted to include those as part of the game).
And when you're free from these constraints, when you feel free to act how you want, you become more creative at it. Five-year-olds can do this better than most adults. There's a saying that "Kids Say The Darndest Things", maybe it's because they havn't learned that there are such things as mistakes yet. What would happen to us and our craft if we could unlearn this thing for a moment?
What happens when we stop chasing goals and ask ourselves:
"Do I actually enjoy making art itself? If there isn't money or recognition or the promise of some reward, would I still enjoy doing it? "
There's no hurry, you can take as long as it takes to ponder that, in the mean time, why not play a drawing game or two?