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Vincent Van Gogh-and-paint!

Get out there and fucking express yourself through art

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Image Credits: Janis McMath

Hey there, friends. I’m an artist — and you should be one, too.

Now, you may be thinking, “No way, I hate making visual art. Everything I illustrate looks like an uncharismatic potato.” Where’s the issue in that, though? Where did we first come up with the idea that to make art, one has be good at it?

It seems as a society, we only put emphasis on art as a talent, skill, or profession. What we forget is that art is also an enjoyable activity — much like dancing or singing. I sure as shit cannot dance or sing skilfully, but you better fucking believe that I will loudly sing and drunkenly dance to “The Black Parade”  by My Chemical Romance, proclaiming my love for Gerard Way while doing so.

Do you remember elementary school? Art is an activity you used to love! Your mom has all the shitty paintings you made as a kid to prove it. She still has that turkey hand you made in Grade 2, and she loves it dearly.

As kids, we wanted to paint just for the sake of painting. We grew older, and a lot of us forgot why we loved making art so much. In turn, we’ve forgotten the pleasure of expressing our creative selves through art. The attitude we used to have as kids is one we should work to restore.

We stifle our creativity when we worry that our art won’t meet some standard, and we miss out on the joy of creating. I know this from personal experience. For an unfortunately long period of time, I valued art only as a skill I could master, and overlooked its intrinsic value.

Because of this mindset, making art just felt like something that plagued me. I constantly brooded over the smallest mistakes I made in my drawings, which led me to dread illustrating — all my errors stared me in the face, like proof that I’d never be good enough. What was the point?

But after finally realizing that my perspective was fucking ridiculous, I started creating art far more frequently than I did before, and now, doing so was a pleasure. I made art for myself; I selfishly enjoyed creating, and acknowledged my errors without focusing too much on them. When I gave up the idea that my art had to meet any standards, I grew a lot as an artist.

It’s strange that I ever had such an absurdly contradictory view. There are no obligations when making art, no restrictions, and no rules. Why confine ourselves to the idea that we can’t make art, when there is no one way to do so? Creating is a process we all can engage in, and we all should.

The benefits of making visual art are backed by science, too. Studies show that making art can relieve anxiety, distract us from sadness, and increase our stress resilience. Honestly, what do you have to lose?

Get your brushes out and respect the memory of Bob Ross by painting your damn hearts out.

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