Social change is not the only purpose of art

Art is very likely to reflect the world surrounding the artist, and his/her sentiments, experiences, and even the prism through which he/she sees the world. It is because of this that art inevitably acquires the ability to be used as a medium to affect society. There are a number of voices both in the present and the past who argue that art exists as a medium for social change and consciousness. But this argument is nonsense because it ignores the many other ways art could be used.

At its heart, art-making is about creation, it’s about physically expressing something in creative means. Those who say it exists only for the sake of social change and consciousness ignore art as a means of personal expression and feelings, of spirituality, or other non-political purposes. Not all art is protest, nor should it have to be.

In my personal opinion, artists should make art for themselves, and for the sake of their own passion for art, their feelings, and the desire to create and express something dear to them. If they devote their careers to serve society, then they are no longer creating art for themselves or for their own sake.

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My art is my own, not of the past

In both art class at school, and in art college, I keep being asked to compare my art, drawing, techniques, and ideas to past practioners and theorists, even when I can’t. Why, when my art is my own? I am the progenitor of my work. The only reason teachers would ask me to compare to past artists I don’t know or even care about is so they can fill in blanks, tick boxes, and grade me.

That is not to say I am without any artisitc inspirations. The way I draw fire, for instance. I get inspired mainly by esoteric Buddhism of Tibet and Japan, and the fireballs that dragons are seen with in Chinese artwork. And I draw characters in an anime-like manner, and I am often inspired by the demon designer Kazuma Kaneko, of Shin Megami Tensei fame. But I simply see no relation between my work overall with work of any historical artists, with names at least, nor do I see any relation between my art-making philosophy and that of art theorists and philosophers, any more than I see much relation between my philosophy and that of other philosophers (though as with my art, my philosophy is not without its sources of inspiration).

I also don’t like the notion that my worldview, especially artistic worldview, is somehow determined by what generation I’m from, and the artistic and cultural disposition of that generation. I was born in 1994, so were a hell of a lot of other people, just like every year. The opinions and worldview of each varies wildly, despite being born in the same generation and similar upbringings. I don’t believe I should be labelled as having the same way of thinking as everyone else in my generation.

I do get inspired by things, but I did not create the same art, and I should not be made to compare with other artists and theorists. I wish only to make my own work.