All Art is Useless

When I was a young girl, I used to love art, I was always excited to start a drawing, colour it in with my Faber-Castell colour pencils, you know the basic set we always get as kids. I used to attentively colour in the lines and in one direction so it looked as perfect as possible. I would then run to my mums’ room and quietly stick the finished pieces on her cupboard. I was so excited to see her reaction,  anticipating a “wow that’s really good!” heck I thought I was an artist.

Instead she came in and took them down, and told me not to stick anymore on her wooden cupboard as it would spoil the finishing on the wood.

I took it to mean, my art was not good enough.

My memory in relation to art in my pubescent years were quite fuzzy.

When I was in high school I found myself using art class to just chit chat with friends and play boardgames in class. I had never finished a piece of art unless it was graded. Even then I never finished it in class. I wasn’t lazy. I was just too ashamed.

I didn’t understand art. I didn’t understand how to draw a sunrise over rolling hills and colour them in. My I always tear a hole in the paper from erasing the same area too often because I couldn’t get  the sketch right, my water colours were a mess and it always soaked the paper, I couldn’t comprehend colours. Oil pastels and crayons were my best friends as they were solid and not susceptible to water.

I was sent to art classes outside of school. What would art class teach me anyways? I didn’t understand what perspective was, aside from someone’s opinion on my work which was always disheartening. All it made me realise was even in a group of kids outside of my  school, I was definitely the worse at it.

And though I always took my art page home and worked for hours on it, when I took it to class I always received a fail or just a scraping pass. That Red pen mark over my Blue sky, reflecting a 4/10 was enough to make me never touch the paint brush again.

My mother said it was my hands, I didn’t  have the slender fingers of an artist. Back then I hated art, and my hands.

In my most recent years, it took going to dozens of art exhibitions and seeing thousands of products that were regarded as “valuable artwork”. It took meeting lots of artists and speaking to lots of art enthusiasts. It took reading up on so many “art techniques” that preschoolers could realise themselves. It took trying again to create something that one person would regard as art for me to realise, that all art is quite subjective. And in the words of Oscar Wilde, “All art is quite useless.”

And I love art!


Lola the lionfish by Clément and I.


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