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The Importance of Bad Art

In this blog post I wanted to explore the idea that art has to be perfect in order to be valid. Sometimes society has made it feel like being a good artist is just a natural-born thing, where you either have it or you don’t. You are either a creative person or you are not. Some biopics represent art like you just start creating and the ideas come pouring out and it is perfection at first stroke.


However, art is a lot more complicated and nuanced than that. Artists make mistakes all the time, things crack and smash. Days can be spent on ideas that eventually end up not being anything. But all this “bad” art is still valuable. As Bob Ross states, there are only “happy little accidents”.


When you’re making something it becomes an extension of yourself, so when it goes wrong it feels like a personal attack. We are shown ‘perfect’ art every day on tv, the radio and the internet and it is difficult to not compare yourself with others.


When you see great artists they make their art look easy, and the struggle is nowhere to be seen, and so therefore we think it doesn’t exist. This admiration of ‘the artist’ as someone special and talented, and somehow different causes most people to never touch their subject again.


Really, the only thing different is perseverance. This is a key ingredient and for many is the hardest thing to find. For those who stick with it, this is where art becomes valuable, beyond any potential economic gains, beyond any particular idea of success. It becomes an inner move towards self-acceptance, and wellbeing in general.


Through making art, all artists are forced to view the imperfections in their work, and develop the healthy ability to move on with compassion and respect for themselves as individuals.


The art they make becomes more than just something that is made for the pleasure of the ‘consumer’ but a display of human endeavor towards self acceptance. This dimension of art is totally missed when we look at art purely through the lens of ‘talented people making nice things to look at’.


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© 2019 Sally-Ann Johns.