Sometimes I ask myself, “Does the world really need more art?” I make art (music) for a living, so this question nags me on my low days. There is a frivolousness attached to art at times, causing my mind to question my reasons for being a creative.
Well I’m tired of waiting for the next time the question will nag me. Instead, I want to answer it.
Desert Island Non-Essentials
Have you ever played the desert island game? Basically, a group of people shares what they’d bring to a desert island if they were hypothetically stuck on one indefinitely. When forced to choose only one thing, most people name practical items:
“I’d bring a raft or a boat so I could get back to shore.”
“I’d bring a fishing pole so I could catch fish and not starve.”
It’s a silly game, but the results are telling: true necessities are things that contribute to our physical survival. Yet my heart screams, “The world needs art too!” Maybe we just need art in a different way than we need food, water, and a roof over our heads.
Can we survive without art? Technically yes. But without it, a part of who we are as beings created in the image of God is lost. Ewin Mcmannus in The Artisan Soul says,
“We will never create anything more powerful or more significant than our lives. The complexity is that we are both works of art and artists at work…He who is the creator God is the creative God, and he created us in his image and likeness. He created us with imagination and curiosity, with the capacity to hope and dream, and he place within us all the material necessary to live an extraordinarily creative life. The proof is that soul is the divine material with which we are made to create. The difference between humans and every other species on this planet is that humans are artists. This is our uniqueness–we were created to create. Somewhere along the way we forgot this. We became convinced we were something less. It is time to become more.”
In the desert island scenario we may not have brought a favorite piece of art or a guitar, but we brought our lives; both the greatest tool with which we create, and our greatest creation. Without our creativity we may not have the gumption to use the raft to get back to shore or the fishing pole to catch our food.
So, is being a musician, or some other artistic endeavor, a “real” job? Yes! If creativity is essential to who we are as human beings, then the people who model this bring value to our culture by teaching that it is less about what we accomplish and more about how we accomplish it. Even people who don’t consider themselves creative are creative just by living out their lives, and allowing God to shape their lives; you are a creative testament to who He is!