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Blog // Thoughts
April 20, 2013

Don’t Complain – Make Art

The sign you see above is a little decoration I’ve created for my studio. Actually, it’s not quite that little. At 12 inches by 8 inches and mounted on 1 inch think acrylic, it’s a substantial little reminder of one of my favourite personal mantras: Don’t Complain – Make Art. Over the past few years […]

Don't Complain - Make Art

The sign you see above is a little decoration I’ve created for my studio. Actually, it’s not quite that little. At 12 inches by 8 inches and mounted on 1 inch think acrylic, it’s a substantial little reminder of one of my favourite personal mantras: Don’t Complain – Make Art.

Over the past few years I’ve heard a lot of complaining from creatives, especially musicians, both here and in other countries. Of course, sustaining your craft is hard, especially in the face of declining commercial opportunities. But, expecting to be supported by governments (or other kinds handouts) feels misguided and in many ways self-sabotaging.

What’s worse is following some of these creatives on social media. The complaint to art ratio often feels way out of proportion, to the point of making many artists sound like just another part of the online ranting masses.

That’s why I try to remind myself to not complain, but make art.

Or, to put it another way, to channel the source of the complaints, all the angst, anger and disappointment, into the stuff I create. I’m as guilty as any creative of being a complaintophile; heaven knows I’ve had my share of frustrations and disappointments in recent years (and particularly with some aspects of the creative scene here in Singapore).

But, there limit. And, while there is some value in critically analysing the problems you face (as long as you offer some solutions), there’s far more value in using your dissatisfactions to fuel your creative output.

It’s a choice. Instead of using rants and arguments to express yourself, use your art, songs, poems, photos, paintings, dance, whatever it is, to make a difference. Our privilege and blessing is the ability to express ourselves through creative media and if we have a genuine complaint, then giving it a voice through art is so much more powerful than taking cheap shots online or whinging into a cup of coffee or glass of wine.

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Responses
leonie wise 8 years ago

Oh man, this totally hit the spot. Someone once said to me that there are ways to tell my story (all of it) through art in a way that can express how I feel without hurting anyone – what a freeing realisation that was!

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