Why Do We Make?

I don’t know.

Now that the semester is over, my brain sort of feels like my body does when I curl up after eating a Thanksgiving meal… three steps past exhausted. I also happened to get my first covid vaccine the day school ended, it was a cathartic moment I won’t soon forget. However, this week I wanted to keep things super simple… instead of getting too into things that require research, I wanted to reflect on certain thoughts that occurred to me throughout the semester about the universal human condition of making and/or production.

There is something that is almost… sort of acceptable and expected about the Pyramids of Giza existing, even though if I stop and think about them for more than a few seconds, I find myself shaking my head or making confused faces about why such objects extend out of humanity in such bizarre and unique ways. Honestly, I don’t have a true answer, but they sure are awesome… which sort of feels like the answer in itself. Studying both Art History and Traditional Art has taught me one thing, and that is that people like to do things, and the more time I spend doing things and reading about the things other people have done, the more I realize that a lot of humanity is just plain absurd, which is something that ought to be embraced fully. We do weird stuff, and the older I get the more I realize people pretend like we are somehow separate from that spirit…. something that may also be unique to our society in America.

Even beyond that, part of my interest in art history has to do with (as silly as it sounds) the feeling of connectedness to creators past and present. Somehow, when I am painting, drawing, fixing, gluing, or using my body to make something, there exists a hand that laid a brick on the great wall of China or an ochre-spit-covered hand against a cave wall in Argentina. For me, there is a language of communication and a spirit of intuition that doesn’t exist in any other form and, at least in my case, is impossible to communicate through words. Art is a language of feeling and doing, and through that, I feel as though it is easier to be my genuine self. But even so, the mystery of our creative intelligence is still beyond something one single human can work out for themselves. However, it may be the immediate relief of getting vaccinated, but for the first time in a very long time I feel a sense of hope about us collectively figuring it out as artists.

We are quite literally the universe staring back at itself… somehow conscious expressions of its natural will. It’s literally a miracle, folks. Why wouldn’t we give back things that are just as weird as the universe itself?

Featured image is The Attarouthi Treasure, ca. 500–650, Byzantine

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