Why Create?

I have always wondered, why art? Why create? Why bother?

What is it that makes us want to be a part of any creative proccess? This is definitely different from person to person, but one thing is certain, that everyone shares unique a love and a passion for whatever art form they create. From music, novels, films, sculpture, paintings and many more, in order for something to turn out to be visually interesting and beautiful, passion is ย vital.

Something else that I always thought about, is for who we create art for? Is it for our personal fulfilment, is it for a wider audience, for a career, for money or for fame? Even though I am currently living in London, I keep all of my artworks in Greece. And when I go back home, besides a few paintings that my parents have decorated our home with, the rest of them are kept in our storage room. Recently, when I was looking for an old small drawing, I found myself surrounded by all these paintings and art pieces that I have put so much efford researching and creating, and there they were, hidden in our storage room, where nobody saw them. I felt weird, thinking that I spent so much time creating something that ended up in a storage room, what was the point?

A few weeks went by, I returned to London and did not think about that, until I came across this man, in Cromwell road, between the Natural History Museum and the Victorian & Albert Museum.

Screen Shot 2014-02-08 at 18.15.26As I was walking towards the tube station, I saw all these people surrounding a man, but I could not understand what was ย really happening. I was very curious so I stopped and moved a bit closer, to realise that the man everyone was surrounding was actually creating art in the middle of the streets.

The first thing I noticed was how great he had created the perfect shape to seem like he was drawing on a piece of paper, but taking a closer look, it turns out that he was painting on the actual floor of the pavement. Even though the surface of the floor was not smooth, his work was very clean and his colours very soft. His use of different colours of charcoal was excellent making his final result look even smoother. I ย loved how he had very limited materials, no canvas, no paper but still, he managed to create a very beautiful drawing and get the attention of a number of people, including myself.

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After observing for a few minutes, I continued walking towards the tube station, but I was still thinking about that man. More specifically, I was thinking about his reasons for creating art. Of course he was doing it for the money as well, but why drawing on the floor? If instead of drawing on the floor he used paper, he would then have his own small collection, and could even start selling his works. Drawing on the floor in London only means one thing. His art piece will last for one day maximum. Either the unexpected rain will wash it away after a few hours, or when he finishes his art and leaves, people will simply walk all over his art without noticing it was there.

But I am sure he was well aware of that and simply chose to draw on the floor because in my opinion he did not really care. All he cared about was his passion and will to create. He was simply living the moment, doing what he loved , experimenting and using his passion to create something interesting. To express himself and sent a message through his art. If he only cared about money or fame, I am sure that he would create art id a different way. But he didn’t. He just did what he felt like doing, and that was to create something beautiful that was not permanent and would last for only a couple of hours, and that, in my opinion was the beauty of his work.

Thank you for reading,




  1. Intriguing question Elli.

    In my humble opinion, art is a state of being inherent to a human being. The objects that we label as “works of art” are just records of such states of being. The street artist you referred to was in his primal artistic state of being, the work he was creating was the record of his state of mind. I believe that all great works of art are a result of an excited state of artistic existence – which not everyone can experience in life.
    Those among us who are lucky enough to experience such a higher state of existence, simply choose to leave behind their mark, when their state of mind is too excited to contain inside human existence anymore.

  2. This reminds me of two stories that I read recently. They were very similar, both artists using unusual media. One created in snow and the other in sand at the beach. Of course their works will be short lived, but they were beautiful. I think art is just about making something beautiful because it is worth doing. If it is not appreciated or does not endure, at least the creator saw the worth in it.

  3. I found this post very inspirational! In a world where we move faster and faster, it’s becoming more common place to see people buried in their technology then it is to see someone like the man in your post creating just because he can.

    I’m a believer that every generation must find their own unique ways to express who they are, but I hope this kind of inspiring beauty never goes out of style…

  4. “He was simply living in the moment” That is the mark of an artist. I talked about this the other day with a stranger as we sat on a bench. She insisted that professional artists must discipline themselves to set aside time and space each day to do their work, much like any other worker does. I proposed that artists are so moved to do their work, that they work better spontaneously, “as the spirit moves them”. I think we were both right, but I am in the latter group. Put me on a schedule, and I waste a lot of time and energy struggling to comply. Let me create freely, and it flies out of me.

    Great story and perspective. Thanks for sharing.

  5. As others have said, this is both beautiful and inspirational!
    And though I am glad you took a photo of that beautiful drawing and recorded it, there is something entrancing of the transience of certain beauties, like plants that flower only for a brief period of the time. They are all the more lovely because they strike the world for only a short period of time, and the very meaning of them is that there is inspiration within them even if they will not be capitalized on or shown to the world. That unexplainable aspect is art.

  6. I think the drive to create often overwhelms our thoughts about why or where. I’m always surprised when I’m creating a piece of art and someone asks me where I’m going to put it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Art has been a lifeline for me. It has been an outlet to which I can funnel my energy to. Sometimes it’s negative energy and sometimes positive and quite often a mix of both. I create a mixture if photographic art and mixed media art. I’m really enjoying the photography aspect right now because it is opening my eyes to everyday beauty that I may not have noticed otherwise. Beauty is all around us but often life moves so fast that we miss it.

  8. Im Always in awe at people who have such a gift, how inspired much this man have been …i can only hope to be so passionate .

  9. I think if we focus more on “How can I profit from this?” We will never truly be happy. Now, people are more prone and more than willing to do things they don’t enjoy for money. That’s how we can see someone with massive riches and they’re unhappy but see a poor man and he’s the happiest person you’ve ever seen. To an extent, we all want to create. Some are better than others and some have more motivation to keep going. I think a part of being an artist is feeling and being able to put your emotions into your work. Make people feel your feelings.

  10. I think creating an art piece is no different than cooking an excellent meal. Whether one is a traditional artist, chef, construction worker or teacher, it is all about the completion of something. Every thing “created” has the same components. To do something well you must know your medium whether it is the science of food interacting with a pan or the science of mixing paints to achieve the correct color. Creating is capturing something and the means to that end.

    Just my humble opinion. Great question!

    1. I agree that there is artistry in many fields and would even extend examples of the creation of art even into something as nerdy as computer programming. So, I think the broader definition you propose also ties in nicely with the concept of them all being an artisan in their field. I’m not sure about how to define an artisan but, confusingly, I believe it generally relates more closely to craftsmanship than artistry.

      This leads me to observe that I often see art produced with poor or mediocre craftsmanship just as I often I see good craftsmanship used to produce poor or mediocre art. I tend to be in the latter category because I blunder along with no formal art training.

      For me, it is about the satisfaction of completing something, enjoying the challenge and producing something.

      There is also the compulsion to make things better and better as time passes, whether in terms of craftsmanship or artistry, as well as leaving some sort of legacy. This applies as much to producing computer code in my younger days as to messing with glass nowadays. I cynically reflect that I used to change the magnetism on computer disks that fade over time, but now make things in glass that are likely to outlive me.

      So maybe it is the legacy of leaving a little of ourselves in our work that is the reason we do it.

  11. Elli! I love this post! Thank you for visiting my blog…ownwhoyouare. The follow is very kind. Creating is one of the most amazing experiences we will ever enjoy here on earth. I love how you shared this man’s creation and the fact that he simply wanted to create because he could. It brought a lot of meaning into my heart today. Thank you! I look forward to reading more of your work.

  12. Creation means being able to see things differently. It also means showing someone yourself in a way you can’t vocally. Plus it’s fun and beautiful and fulfilling! There are so many reasons; I can’t think of just one. But great question to bring up! Thanks.

  13. An interesting and thoughtful post. I have never really asked, “why create?”, because I simply have to โ€” but I too have piles of paintings in storage, where no one is looking at them. Maybe my question is, “why keep the creations?”

  14. Reblogged this on Forget the Viagra, Pass Me a Carrot and commented:
    A great piece that applies to most of us who feel the desire to create something external to ourselves for others to share. Passion yes, and also a reflection of different forms of communication that we as humans have evolved with for hundreds of thousands of years. Today’s pavement artist is the cave artist – authors the ancient scribes who painstakingly illustrated those first books, and bloggers are the travelling story tellers of the middle ages. I am not sure that the urge is genetic but I do believe in cellular memory and perhaps once upon a time an ancestor of mine was a witch casting spells with herbs and telling fairy stories around an open fire. Who knows!

  15. Was he ‘expressing himself’ โ€” or was the art using him as a tool to express itself?

    Did he really need an audience, or their few coins?
    Can the modern mind really fathom the rationale for/of the deep-cave paintings of Lascaux, Altamira, and all the many others?
    The theory is witchcraft, religion (same difference) or ‘hunting-magic shamanism’ โ€” it’s amazing how anything puzzling from the past is automatically labelled ‘ritual object’. We reflect our own ignorance in the labels we apply … perhaps the guy is a reincarnated cave-person who got thrown out of the tube station so has to express himself outside in daylight.

    I think he’s just an artist doing his thing …

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