Why Do You Make Things?

One of my favorite poems is called “Why I am not a Painter” by Frank O’Hara. It’s a behind the curtain look into a friendship between Frank and painter Mike Goldberg and their respective creative processes. Since I first read this poem in high school, I have been in turns drawn to Frank’s description of his internal creative life and his description of watching Mike’s painting evolve and then to the similarities of their creative works in progress.

It only just occurred to me as I sat down to write this that I had never seen Mike Goldberg’s painting of “Sardines.” So, of course, I looked it up. Unfortunately, I could only find this very small example. Even though I can’t really see the picture, it satisfies me that it exists.

Whenever I sit down to work on a project, be it writing here or cross-stitching or making cards or some other creative thing, I often think of this poem and how the creative process is so energizing to me. The other part of that though is the discussion of the creative process with others. This is something that worked so well for me in college and I miss it. I was working on art everyday and thinking about it and talking about it and consequently, I got pretty good at a few things. My skills are rusty now. My current ability with a paint brush is scary but the need for the discussion remains. So I ask you, why do you make things and what do you enjoy about the creative process? I know we don’t all make the same kinds of things but the process is similar for us all. I look forward to hearing about yours.

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