When It Hurts, Make Art

When It Hurts, Make Art


It’s been a rough week.

Half of the country is hurting, myself included. But, I’m an artist. I’m in a community of image makers, painters, performers, writers, creatives. And most of us in this community are feeling really, truly, deeply, depressed about the results of this election.

But, we’re gonna be okay. I don’t mean this in the sense that your friends on Facebook are saying we’ll be okay, that we’ll somehow survive the next four years, that we need to rise above. No, I mean we’ll be okay in the sense we’ll do what we’ve always done, but we will do it with more urgency and purpose than ever before.

We’re going to create.

I feel a fire blazing in my heart. Sure, it’s under layers of deep blue sadness and anger, but it’s there. My thesis work is about childhood sexual trauma, and the new POTUS is currently under investigation for raping a child. I felt my work was relevant before, but after Tuesday, it’s hella relevant now.

My classmates are making work about queer identity, about colorism, about relations with China and the United States, about our place in nature, and about colonialism. They are thinking about their place in a global society and are making work accordingly.

You can bet that they have a fire in their hearts, too.

We can’t let the pain stop us. We can mourn, protest, be angry. I’m not saying you have to be gracious and kind and accept things as they are. Absolutely not. But, I am saying that we need to use this pain as fuel, to go forth and make art.

I’m in graduate school, surrounded by lovely minds, all of us with the passion to change things. We’re not going to be passive here at Columbia; we’re going to raise hell with our cameras, our pens, our brushes. It’s a part of history for the artists to stand up and scream that things aren’t right, that the status quo isn’t okay. Now, it is our turn to join the ranks.

So, continue mourning. Be sad for as long as you need to, and keep posting angry Facebook statuses if that is what you need to do. I have full confidence in our ability to spread love and knowledge, because isn’t it the artists who start revolutions?

I’ll leave you with a few quotes from fellow creatives. Hopefully they will light your fire, too.

“Creativity is discontent translated into arts.” -Eric Hoffer

“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.” -Auguste Rodin

“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul — and you answer.” -Terri Guillemets

“Art will disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed.” -Banksy


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