Recent readings have made me think again about a question I've chewed on for years, "Why make art? What is it good for?" I don't think we'll ever know. The compulsion to make pictures, sculptures, stories, or music has been part of being human since prehistoric times. What changes are the explanations we come up with to explain or justify our behavior. We have to come up with an explanation that will convince people to leave us alone so that we can keep making art. Or better yet, an explanation that will convince people to support us in making art. But if you dig deep enough, the truth that comes out of almost every artist is, "I have to - I can't help it." Maybe it's some kind of soul virus.
Still, the way we explain it to ourselves influences the way we practice art. I've heard hundreds of justifications for making art (tried a few myself) and they seem to fall into three main categories: