Make sh*t. Just do it.

I want to make sure my message is clear about art and art making. Just make art. Just do it. I don’t care what you think of what you make, I don’t care what other people think of what you make. There is no such thing as failure, only education. Which is to say you can only learn by doing when it comes to making things.

There are lots of reasons to do so, which is what I try to explore and examine. All the prognostication and contemplation about art I partake in is only about understanding art metaphysically and how that may or may not affect our individual and communal physicality and spirituality.

I do think that stuff is important because inevitably the questions about art’s importance, relevance, utility, and sustainability come up, particularly in the spheres I operate in as a professional artist. At that level of discourse you can’t sit back on justifying, explaining, or understanding art because art.

But all this is academic at best if people aren’t making art. And I think everyone needs to be making something. I don’t think it is possible to understand or appreciate art on only intellectual terms. You might be able to relate to the artist or study the role art played in different moments of history. But that doesn’t help you understand the affect of actually making something first hand.

Can you make art without thinking of these things? Absolutely. If thinking of these things is getting in the way of making things, forget about thinking about these things. The best way to get through a creative block is to keep creating. So whether you are just starting out or have been working at it for years, if you can’t get past thinking, then forget thinking and just make.

I do believe it is worthwhile to ponder that the ones we all consider the greats of art thought about all these things. I don’t see how one can put in the time and thought to attain the levels of great art without it. But it is not a prerequisite. It is more than likely an unavoidable side affect.

I think it is unavoidable as the artist starts to seriously consider the importance of a particular brush stroke, a note in a melody or harmony, the lifting of the arm, the word choice in a writing. These things don’t become second nature without deliberate contemplation at some point. You learn so you can forget.

What is also inevitable, what is important to you will eventually become obvious in the work. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. We may not know what is in someone’s heart directly, you do present and expose your heart with every word spoken, brush stroke, song sung or written, movement of dance, chisel stroke to stone or wood. You show people your heart with how you live.

Scary stuff to be sure, to be vulnerable like that. But the alternative is to become cold and hard. As C. S. Lewis once put it, and I’ve quoted before:

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

How will you live?

Thanks for reading,


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Email Tuesday!

I don’t aim to change anyone’s mind. I want conversation and hopefully, prayerfully, in that process allow the Spirit to change our hearts. I do prefer, enjoy, and participate in the conversation. Here is an email I received and the... Continue →