My “why” for right now

21 March 2021

A page from my sketchbook - ink, crayon, pencil

I figured out something big this month.

It all started a few years ago while I was running my former web design company. During a strategy session, I watched the TEDx talk by Simon Sinek “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. Maybe you’ve come across it? It’s the one where he said “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Upon hearing that, I was moved and eagerly applied it to my design company.

Cool, right? Well, since then, I shuttered that company, and I buried that why with it. But the why framework stuck with me and I brought it to my visual art career.


Why do I paint?

It didn’t feel like enough to say “I paint because I have a deep need to paint.” I wanted a better answer.

In the past couple years, I chewed up a few pencil ends working on this. I even dreamt about my life purpose. I painted crystals, organic growth, the passage of time, paths, mysteries, and origin stories. Were these pointing to my everlasting why?

I don’t know! Maybe.

A few days ago I was watching an artist talk about artistic vision. One of the painters said that as she’s gotten more in touch with her visual expression, the why of her art changed. And she expected it to change, just like her art changed. That beam of insight landed in the middle of my forehead.

I don’t want my art to look the same in five years. I expect my art to evolve in meaning and connection to me. And my why can unfold right alongside my art. It’s OK for my why to evolve.


Here is the core of my artist statement today: I create art and stories about transformation. I hope that my art brings inspiration to other people on their own journeys.

That is my why for right now. My why can and will evolve. And I look forward to it.

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