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The Hurdles of Creation: Can I Create Art?

A potential series by: Roberto Sapienza

Can I create art? That is a heck of a question, isn’t it? Well, it’s at least one that I have

been struggling with for my entire artistic career. Not only that one, but also the

wonderful spiral of questions that follow: Should I create new work? Will it be worthy of

an audience? What do I even want to say? Is my perspective even important? The

quick answers would be: Yes. Yes. Anything. Yes.

The long answer is in the following TED Talk. Which, I imagine, is narrated in a British

Accent. Sir David Attenborough or Dame Judy Dench or frankly, any member of the

nobility will do fine.

“Creating art” is wonderfully complex. Even just those two words seem to manifest

cartoon characters of my anxieties with painfully harmful catch-phrases and send them

charging at me. What I later realized is that those hurdles were indeed created by none

other than myself. One hurdle that I seem to immediately enjoy placing in front of myself

is: “I’ll sit down right now and come up with the next greatest song”. So, I sit down with

my piano or guitar and go over every chord progression I know. About fifteen minutes in

I’ll stop myself and say “It’s either been done already” or “I can’t create anything right

now”. So I stop and pout for the next few days until the next wave of my forced

inspiration strikes. It seems that what I haven’t done is allowed anything in that moment

to just be what it needed to be. Rather than editing whatever I come up with later, I

pre-edit myself and set up an expectation of a result that I couldn’t possibly achieve in

that moment. And so, I fail. (We’ll talk about failure and how it’s not actually failure in

another TED Talk). After I’ve been defeated by myself I wonder if I am ever capable of

actually creating anything.

Turns out, we’re all quite the creators. What some have yet to realize is that they are

always creating potential art simply by experiencing things in their day to day lives.

Whether or not they decided to jot it down in the meantime makes all the difference

between potential art and created art. After I realized that my thoughts on the subway,

my interactions in my relationships, my doubts, my triumphs and all my thoughts while

staring at my bedroom ceiling at four in the morning are in fact, art in conception, I

snapped into action. I began to write these events down. At first it was unclear to me

whether or not they were even worth writing down. After successfully silencing that

voice, I carried on jotting and eventually the detrimental question became a more

hopeful one. Instead of searching for the worth of my creation, I was asking myself

which medium I should be presenting it on. Progress! Hah! The first steps could be as

simple as journaling. Who knew? Not me.

Since I will always be discovering new things about myself and how I create art, this will

most likely be an ongoing thing. But I will end this entry with this:

“Should I create new work? Will it be worthy of an audience? What do I even want to

say? Is my perspective even important?” -- blah blah blah blah.

Don’t get me wrong, questioning things is always a great idea. Asking why should never

be punished. Parents that tell their kids to stop asking why are just bad parents.


Why, is great. So absolutely ask yourself, “Why do I want to make this?”. The answer

can be anything, really. But, if your answer is among the lines of “I really love this and

want to share it” or “I have something to say”, then you should probably do it. You never

know who may read it, listen to it, watch it, etc...You could make someone's day. You

may even ruin someone else's. Isn’t that amazing? Yes. Yes it is. We’ll talk about why

next time.

Carry on creating, friends.

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