Why create art?

paper collage of an elephant

Sometimes, in my more negative moments, I find myself questioning the value of my work – of any art actually. I mean why create art? What does it do? It’s hard to quantify it’s value in the same way that we can when an architect builds a hospital or a plumber stops a leak. At the moment I’m travelling in Bangkok and yesterday at the Bangkok Art & CultureCentre (BACC) I found a little paper collage, a picture made in a very similar way to how I work, that showed me just one of the reasons why art has value. This picture was made by a person with special needs at the Na Kittikoon art room, a place where people with special needs, who perhaps struggle to express themselves in a way that people who aren’t affected by special needs can, are able spend time creating and finding forms of peaceful expression that allow them to escape from the difficulties that can result from living with their respective condition. This little paper elephant reminded me that art is soothing. Whether creating art or viewing it, it has the power to make us feel, to connect with our most instinctual selves and feel at peace in a way that is difficult to explain in words. When I saw this yesterday I felt a connected to the artist because of the similar way in which we work – seeing it helped me to feel at home in another country because it reflected a little piece of my own personality back at me. The value of that is that it stopped me feeling lonely and instead made me feel warm and smiley for the rest of the day. I’m not sure exactly who the artist is but this post is a thank you to them for welcoming me to Bangkok and reminding me that even though it’s hard to explain, art’s power to soothe and connect us is of very real value.



  1. Joan Blake

    You’re in Thailand I’m in England but you are still here. Your little Peruvian children greet me in the kitchen every morning, your paper and cutting equipment smile from the conservatory, your warrior sketch keeps guard on me overnight, your amazing posters hide safely in your room but announce their presence every time I climb the stairs. And thanks to your beautiful drawing of my dad he is the first thing I see every day of my life. You ponder on the value of art then answer your own question by sharing the quirky paper Ellie created by a special needs child which brought the creator a sense of purpose while creating it and surely a sense of pride at the finished article. In turn that little elephant has stopped you feeling lonely and brightened your whole day. I imagine my house with bare walls, unadorned with paintings, sketches, posters and photographs and to me it would be like a world without trees. So often when someone moves home the first thing they want to do is fill the walls with their own personal pieces of art and only then does it feel like home. Art brings life alive. Keep on blogging Holly it keeps you close to me xx

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