Is Making Art Worth the Time?

When I was a little girl, I was blessed with a creative mom who believed in the magic of art and art supplies. I grew up in an environment of books, puppets, paints, maracas, markers and construction paper. Even so, sometimes my mom’s approach would shut me down, like the time I proudly showed her some drawings and she said, “That was too fast. Real art takes time.”

Real art takes time.

What a terrifying thought.

Now before I go further, let me say that as an adult it occurred to me that what my mom really meant was, “Jamie, I literally just set you up to do some drawing. How can you be finished already? Do more! Take longer! I have my own things to do!” But at the time, I just felt shot down and confronted with the concepts of ‘real art’ and ‘time’.

I think time may be one of the things that confounds us creatives the most. There’s never enough of it and knowing that, we sink into a panic about whether we’ll ever make the work we want to create in this lifetime.The problem is that the worry slows us down – even paralyzes us at times.

Time is so limited we look for guarantees.

We don’t want to start unless we know we can finish – better yet, if we know we can finish and the work will be good. And not only good but good enough that other people will love it. Even better, other people will love it so much they’ll pay for it and then we will finally know that time invested in making art was worth it

Is making your art worth the time if it doesn’t make money?
Is making your art worth the time if other people don’t appreciate it?
Is making your art worth the time if sometimes even you don’t like it?
Is making your art worth it if you run out of time before completing every project?

When is art-making worth it?

My answer is, “Always.”

I have dozens of projects I want to bring to you in the studio and 5 books so real that I can call them by name. It’s hard to make some wait in line while I work on others but I know that’s the way for me to make progress. I have no idea how many of these projects I will be able to bring into being during my lifetime, nor do I know how any of them will be received. All I know is that I will use the time I have to create what I can. I hope you’ll do the same.


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