You don’t have to study art to make something beautiful and worthy

The ability to create and appreciate love and light in art is not limited to devoted master artists

Maggie OBrien

More stories from Maggie O'Brien


A CD collage made in the Blugold Makerspace

Art is an alluring societal relief from the exhaust of normalcy. But what is it really? As defined by Merriam-Webster, art is “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination, especially in the production of aesthetic objects.”

A specification or limitation on who can utilize skill and creative imagination does not exist in this definition. Nor does this definition outline any restriction on what is considered an aesthetic object. 

So why is it so ordinary to hear people say that they aren’t an artist? And why do so many people make the presumptive decision that they have no artistic ability?

Creative Something suggests that an ingrained fear of failing may be to blame. In a society that can often feel forebodingly clinical and final, the possibility of making “mistakes” or not making art “the right way” may provide too many anxieties for people to even try.

But imagine if people viewed everything with this narrow mindset. It’s almost unheard of for people to be greatly successful at something when they are first introduced to it. Art should be no different, and mistakes should be welcomed with gratitude and warmth. 

I used to fall victim to this shrouded mindset of self-doubt and deprecation when I thought about the idea of trying to make art or create something in an artistic space. That is until I realized that if I have any inspiration or motivation, anything that I create can be full of wonder. 

Another endearing thing about art is the ambiguity of success. A project or creation can never really be defined as incorrect or wrong unless the artist isn’t satisfied with their work. 

Even so, art has no time cap. It can always be ephemeral in the way it’s open to improvement or change at any moment, whether an artist remakes a creation in its entirety or carefully tweaks an original.

There is so much about art that is subjective. There are countless possibilities of inspiration and no boundaries in many scenarios. Even errors can be open to interpretation, and a simple fault may even flower into something even more beautiful than the original. 

So I think everyone should make an effort to be more gracious with themselves and allow those pretty mistakes to be made. Children and adults alike need to recognize that art isn’t something untouchable for non-professionals, but something that should be commonly cherished.

Art can be an intimate revelation, a playful mirage of silly thoughts or ideas or anything the creator wishes it to be. It can be observed through a simple playlist, a coordinated outfit or even a pair of handmade earrings. One of the most lovely things about art is that it’s limitless. 

Though it can be sacred, art doesn’t always have to be a significant thing that’s toiled over, and it often isn’t. Whether it offers an emotional release or just a passage of time, the creation and expression of art is something that anyone is capable of.

If you’re feeling particularly creative after reading this, check out Blugold Makerspace on the lower level of McIntyre Library on campus. 

I utilize the Blugold Makerspace at least once a week and though I’m not an art major or minor, I feel like I am capable of creating something that’s subjectively beautiful and worth something to me every time I go there.

A variety of art supplies and materials are offered to UW-Eau Claire students, faculty and staff in this space for free or very low prices to aid in any creative exploration. The staff in Blugold Makerspace are very knowledgeable and friendly and love to help students create.

O’Brien can be reached at [email protected].