Friday, October 27, 2017

Of Hobbies and Art

This week I watched a YouTube video titled "Why I quit art".  I honestly can't remember the video too much but what I do remember was one comment.  The commenter said he quit art because the online world is saturated with artists.  That he stopped because nobody appreciates his art thus giving him a conclusion: art is a worthless hobby.

Sometimes I wonder how true that is.

I've read and heard this story too many times: a person does something he or she loves.  Let's say he created a travel vlog or a tech blog.  He liked the topic so much that he just cranked up post after post regarding it.  His followers grew-- from ten, it became a hundred... a thousand... soon more than a hundred thousand.  In interviews and Q&As, whenever he's asked what's the secret to his success, he always say, "I just did things that I want to do.  I never thought my vlog/blog will blow up the way it did.  It was just a hobby!"

BOOM!  A success story right there.

This seems like the most ideal situation.  Things just coming together: you get to create your art and in return build a lot of audience and earn money from it, too.  But I honestly think this happens to less than 1% of the population.  I'm sure there are very well meaning and talented people out there who do not get to build the audience that they want.  Life is like that sometimes, fair or not, it's just reality.

As an "artist", I sometimes wonder what my motivation is for what I am doing-- am I creating art for myself or for others?  The most logical answer is of course I'm doing it for both.  In general, you do it because you enjoy creating it and you want to share it.  But does that mean doing something is nonsensical because nobody or only a small group of people is using or looking at it?  Is a hobby nonsense if you cannot make it big?  Especially now during the information age where vlogs and blogs could be monetized and everybody wants to get their chunk of profits, too.  Should one stop creating because it looks like it is not worth the time and effort?

I'm one of those artists who gets nothing financially out of my art.  Sure, I have ads scattered around but I don't really get money out of it.  I don't have a big audience and my blog is in the obscure part of the internet.  Sometimes there's that feeling that my blog is going nowhere, that I don't get to impact other people and my blog is a failure because it couldn't even finance my watercolors or brushes. But at the same time if I tell myself to stop creating comics tomorrow, I'll feel totally lost.  My comics is part of my routine and of who I am-- what will I do if I don't create them?  I suppose I could do something else like create an online business or hone my skills harder to climb up the corporate ladder but I honestly can't completely wrap my head around those ideas.  Not because they are not worthwhile (they are actually very worthwhile) but because my heart doesn't scream them, or at least not at the moment.

So at the moment, I will continue creating art because I can't imagine doing anything else.  It might not be the most soothing answer but it's one of those things that you do not need to make logic out of.  Art is kind of like love that way, you're just doing it purely because you're drawn to it and you love it, with or without an audience. 

How about you?  What's your thoughts regarding this topic?


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