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Letting go of Perfectionism and Pursuing Art for Art’s Sake

In today’s society, we often succumb to the false worldview that everything we do must be of monetary value and elevate our professional goals to have purpose. This notion often infiltrates our creative life and builds a convoluted narrative that for art to be of worth it must be suitable for the gaze of others and their approval. Yet, to make such a notion void would be beneficial to us.

Endeavouring to pursue and create art for art’s sake and leaving behind some of our perfectionism is integral to our well-being. It gives a sense of meaning and purpose beyond our professional and home lives; fresh perspectives separate from the physicalities of our relationships and work, giving time to look inwardly and process. Whether it be writing poetry, painting, drawing or creating melodies, the best use of your time is anything that is therapeutic to you.

A weight is lifted when you no longer strive for perfection. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, explains this position eloquently in a podcast with Russel Brand of the strange sacrificial nature we take when it comes to art. We construct a warped perception that we must give something up, wallow in our emotions whether it be of depression or passion and really feel the highs and lows of humanity in order to create. However, this view is damaging and instead there is good argument for working in motion and conversation with creativity. 

Stripping back to basics and creating art as a hobby, no matter who you are: professional or novice, can be liberating in rekindling your initial passion for it. And if you don’t have a specific artistic hobby already, try a new one! It’s never too late to try something new and if you can break down the self- criticism around what you create, you can become present in the moment, simply doing what feels good for you.

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Orla McHale

Bristol '23

Third Yr English Literature student.
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