We study the greats. From a young age, we all naturally gravitate towards art. We scribble, draw, and paint - even if it’s just to make a mess. Art is something children do instinctively.
Since humanity’s primal ages we’ve made art. Faces on clay vases. Stick figures on cave walls. It’s how we told our stories, shared our beliefs, left our legacy.
But one day you were robbed. At some point, while you were still young, you were told that there was such a thing as good art and bad art. Good art was to be cherished. Bad art was to be discarded and never spoken of again. There are no exhibitions for bad artists.
You became self-conscious about your art. For many of us, one day we just never picked up a pencil again. We decided that instead, we would spend our efforts on things we could get gold stars for. We put down our brushes and instead vowed to become bankers and lawyers and forensic accountants.
We tell ourselves we don’t have time for art. What we frequently mean is we’re not good at it. And even if we’re good, we’re not great. Because if you were great you’d already be doing it.
We’re running scared from something so fundamentally human because we don’t want to be judged for drawing stick figures on cave walls.
The Happiness Project
Goodbye, Things: The New Japanese Minimalism