Thinking ‘bout: Ars Gratia Artis
Ars Gratia Artis: Art for art’s sake.
I remember learning about this phrase while taking Latin in high school. I saw it over this awesome lion, and it infuriated me. Art for art’s sake? No, Art should serve a purpose. Always.
Thankfully, this is just one of many passionate beliefs I held in high school which I no longer hold. (See also: “time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted“ [my regrettable senior quote from TS Elliot], everyone can and should like me, and shopping at American Eagle makes me attractive).
I’m not saying some art shouldn’t have a purpose. Art is a powerful way to influence and argue. I am saying that believing all art needs purpose is a dangerous, stifling thought. Sometimes, you just need to art.
Our daughter is four weeks old, as of yesterday. In my pre-parenting naïveté, I thought I’d have a lot more time to pursue some artistic, personal, and professional goals, since I am also on summer break from work. This has largely not been the case.
However, I have found some slight time to create blackout poems. They are mostly stupid and make me laugh, but then I share them. They take little time. I like them. They are art for the sake of art. I make them, share them, and let them go.
And I’m happy writing them. When I’m not anymore, maybe I’ll stop. Who knows.
So I’ve been thinking about Ars Gratia Artis...
and I realize I’ve stopped myself from creating something dozens of times because I didn’t think it “mattered” or had “purpose.”
But what if I had just created for the sake of creating?