I struggle quite a bit about creating art. I love to do it, whether I’m creating it on the computer or actually painting something, or making props for things like cosplay or theater.
What I struggle with is the guilt – either before creating or after – that I am “wasting time making art.”
Society has a horrible tendency to look down on artists. At least until they become famous (whether for their particular form of art or not). Musicians who haven’t “made it big” (either in the mainstream music industry or the “indie scene”) are a joke. They are considered irresponsible and undependable. People who make things with their hands (sculpture, painting, etc) are told to make something “practical” so they can make money. People who do computer art are told to make websites, so at least they’re “useful and productive” instead of “playing on the computer.” Writers and poets are nobody and useless unless they are published AND have gained popularity.
My mother and sister consider the art I’m doing right now to be part of my recovery. They both consider the time I spend doing art as productive, because I’ve spent too much of my life denying or ignoring my talent unless I have “lots of time on my hands.” Given how much of a full-time job that taking care of my ex was, I’m surprised I was able to create ANYTHING during my time with him.
But what I’m working on right now is a piece that I’m putting a lot of my emotions in regards to my marriage and divorce. It’s another mode of expression, just like my writing for the blog is. It’s allowing my subconscious to talk in a way I have obviously not given it in far too long. In fact, that particular sentence has inspired a return to an idea I had during my marriage, which was meant to be a series based on the Medusa myth from Greek mythology. In fact, I had (and have) given a lot of thought to that series, just haven’t had the energy to work on it.
I now want to completely recreate this piece in a different way, and work on the series as growth of the human, rather than just the idea of a woman recreating herself.
But, that’s a tangent.
Even during my time with my ex, when I was in school I could let my imagination flow better, because the art had a “purpose.” I could excuse myself working on art, because it was for class assignments.
Sadly, while society disdains creatives, women have it worse. We shouldn’t spend time on art unless we’re somehow “being taken care of” whether by our own financial success, or more likely that the men in our lives are financially taking care of us. Even then, things like taking care of the house or the children, or any of a hundred other “productive” ways to spend our time.
Thing is, art IS productive. It’s just not seen that way unless there is a dollar $ign attached.