One of the more valuable (to me) artworks in my studio is a linoleum print made by Dan Cautrell, a artist I admire a lot and know just a bit. The print reads
Statement of Purpose
I do the work because I want to.
I do the work because I like to.
I do the work because I know how.
I do the work to explore myself.
I do the work to engage others with thought, word, and deed.
I do the work because I have something to say.
I do the work because I have seen something beautiful.
I do the work because I have seen something ugly.
I do the work to be the kind of person I want to be.
I do the work to earn money.
I do the work to stay when I must go.
The print hangs right by the studio door, so I can see it and be reminded by it every time I enter or leave the studio. One of the reasons this is a favorite of mine is that it so neatly captures how our reasons for making art can be different at different times. You don’t always have to be working on something for the same reason. I’ll bet I’ve done work for every single one of the reasons Dan has listed; lots of times, I’ve done work for several of these all at once.
I know that, for me, the act of writing things down seems to make them more real. I’ve often wondered what effect making these prints (mine is numbered 73 of 200) has had on Dan. It’s an interesting reminder that making art has concrete effects in both the lives of the art-makers and lives of the people who end up living with the art day to day.