Why Do We Create?

A tiny gold sculpture of a goat
A small gold sculpture of a goat, discovered during the excavation of Akrotiri

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini island in Greece, along with a couple of museums housing works of art discovered at the site.  Observing items that were created thousands of years before the common era led me to think about humans’ desire to make art.  The pieces on display were not limited to pottery designed to hold water and foodstuffs, nor to religious symbols.  There were elaborate wall paintings and meticulously crafted sculptures of animals and human figures.  Like other artists throughout history, these people of the distant past devoted time and scarce resources to producing beautiful objects that served no obvious utilitarian purpose.  Our drive to make things that we don’t really need is unique to humans and appears to be deeply ingrained.  Why do we do it?

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Ask Alexis, Ads, Art and More

Two adirondack chairs in a cottage garden

Hello!  I’m foregoing my usual weekend post to address a few administrative matters:

  1. Ask Alexis.  I’d love to start an advice column of sorts on this site: a weekly or monthly post in which I answer reader questions.  To do that, though, I need to hear from you!  Please send me your questions through the comment form in the menu bar.  Sign them with whatever name or alias you’d like me to use when I respond in a post — it does not have to be your real name if you’d like to remain anonymous.  Questions can relate to interpersonal struggles, creative pursuits, dating, time management, balance, or other life issues.  Remember, I can’t give you legal advice, though I may be able to answer very general questions about the law or legal procedures.  And of course I’m not a licensed counselor, financial advisor, or anything else.  I’ll just be offering my thoughts based on my own life experience.  With that in mind, ask away!
  2. Ad blockers.  I know many of you have ad blockers installed on your browsers or devices, and I completely understand why.  Ads are annoying, particularly when a site is covered with them.  But I’d like to make a small request:  if you use an ad blocker, would you consider whitelisting this website?  You should only see a maximum of three ads on any of my pages, and you will not be subjected to pop-ups or auto-play video ads, so any interruption should be minimal.  (If you do see an obnoxious ad, let me know and I’ll see what I can do about it.)  I do not make any money from this site, but ad revenue helps to offset the cost of hosting and other administrative costs.  Unlike many blogs, I’ve chosen not to do a bunch of sponsored posts and affiliate-linked product promotions because I don’t want this site to be yet another blog that’s trying to sell you stuff.  In the rare instance that I reference a specific product, it’s because I actually use and love that product.  If you want to keep it that way, please ensure that you can see the ads on the site so that I can get credit for them.  Thanks so much for your help with this!
  3. Artwork.  Most of the paintings and drawings on this site are for sale.  If you’d like to purchase something, contact me and I’ll tell you the dimensions, medium, frame details, price, and shipping options.  Pieces are one-of-a-kind, so if you see something you want, don’t wait!  If you’d like me to donate a piece to a charity art auction, please send me a request and I’ll be happy to consider it.
  4. The Groller Family.  Tim Groller is a police officer and father of three from my hometown who was recently diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer.  He is only 34 years old, and his youngest child was born just a couple of weeks before he received his diagnosis.  I don’t know Tim personally, but I went to middle school and high school with his wife Gabrielle.  You can learn more about Tim and his family here.  If you’d like to help this family with their expenses and relieve their burden as they bravely face this illness, you can donate to their GoFundMe campaign.

Have a lovely weekend!

Quote of the Week

“A creative life is an amplified life. It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

A painting of a woman in a robe, seated at a table, reading
The Reader, 2015. Private Collection.


How Creative Pursuits Benefit You in Your Non-Arts Job

Charcoal drawing of the artist in 3/4 view, looking at an easel.
Self Portrait, 2004.

Ever since I decided to attend law school, people have been asking me how a person with an art background becomes a lawyer.  I’m not going to talk about my reasons for pursuing a legal career today (I’ll save that for another post), but I do want to explore how creative pursuits can benefit us in our jobs and lives.

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