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Why Do You Create?

by Peta Tranquille

As a creative, do you know what drives you to create? Is it something you have always felt the urge to do, is it something you do as part of therapy, just for fun or are you trying to earn a living? Perhaps, like me, you are exploring and developing new concepts.

As I can only speak for myself, I will discuss my thoughts about these reasons and how they relate to me.


I have done so since I was big enough to draw on anything. I remember trying to perfect what a 3D house looked like from a young age. I used to create books, and they were filled with word puzzles and lots of Garfield sketches. I continued to draw Garfield characters for years and still did them in high school homework. I was slightly obsessed with all the characters, but Odie was my favourite. Even to this day, I know how to draw him. Other than drawing, I used to make structures with pop sticks, and by the time I entered high school, all my favourite subjects were woodwork, metal work, tech drawing and art. Following school, I loved sewing, including making my own patterns. While I continued to draw throughout my teens and twenties, I always found other creative endeavours, such as clay, mosaic, jewellery, and cooking. I have tried so many different creative activities that it took me a long time to discover that there is not one that I prefer over others, but I have grown to enjoy painting.


I have dealt with anxiety throughout my life, at varying levels of intensity, and I learned very early how beneficial art and creativity were in keeping me calm. I have tried meditation, yoga and running, yet something as simple as doodling, knitting, or cooking is much more effective for me. These activities might benefit me, but they are not the solution for everyone.

During the lockdowns in 2020, I knitted several blankets and renewed my love for sewing. My urge to create is my body telling me it is therapy time. I know of many artists and creators that use art to manage their mental health and recently watched a great series on ABC called Space 22. The six-part series explores the benefit and impact of art and creativity on mental health. I highly recommend the series and found it quite an emotional experience.


Some people like to create just for fun, which is a legitimate reason. Why not? It is fun, and even if you might not consider yourself “an artist,” why shouldn’t you be able to make something with clay, decorate a cake or paint a portrait of your pet? The most fabulous thing about art and creativity is absolutely anyone can do it. Children at school have lots of fun finger painting, and not all of them aspire to be professional artists when they grow up. Most of us made necklaces from pasta or threaded shoelaces through cardboard, and if everyone that did that became an artist, we would have lots of us being asked what our “real job is”. If you want to create for fun, then go for it. We need to do as many activities for fun as we can. And if you are taking your art more seriously, don’t judge those that are having a go and enjoying the process.


It is a fact that earning a great living from art is not something that many of us achieve. It is also not something that we all want to achieve. Making money from my art is the least of my desires. It’s not that I don’t want commissions or to sell my work, but I have other priorities at the moment. But, of course, not everyone is in a financial position to be a full-time artist and have enough to live comfortably.

In many cases, art sales can help supplement your income. I would never suggest anyone give up their job and take on their art practice full-time unless they have been selling a lot for an extended period of time. Art sales can fluctuate, and if you are fortunate to be selling lots of work, perhaps a part-time job is a more sensible option to start with. You could look for jobs that keep you interested in design and creativity. e.g. Art Supply store, marketing design, drafting.

To put it nicely, anyone who thinks they can just give up their job and start earning an equal amount selling their art is delusional. Of course, it might be the case on rare occasions, but unless you have a lot of savings, a wealthy spouse, or a healthy inheritance, is it a risk worth taking?


Developing a concept is the most crucial aspect of my creative journey. For more than five years, I have been exploring ideas and concepts to develop my art practice to create my voice in the art industry. I have grown as an artist by continuing to learn and expand my knowledge of mediums and applications. To be recognised as a serious artist, it is vital to show you are not stagnant in your practice and are willing to take risks, make changes and take feedback on board. When I say feedback, I mean all feedback. It is the most important aspect of your art practices, and while some feedback will be horrible, you can still take the positives out of it and use it to your benefit.

Now that you know my story, we would love to hear yours. Why do you create, and what’s your creative story? Let us know in the comments.


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