The first 240 words from
What Artists Do

“Is art really important? If so, what are the evidence-based facts, the 'metrics,' that prove its importance? Or, is the value of art fundamentally not quantifiable?

“A premise of this book is that art is important because art is part of that nebulous, unquantifiable dimension of reality we sometimes call 'the poetic.' Religion, magic, and even love, beauty, and other forms of non-rational understanding also fall into this category. The poetic transcends the practical imperatives of life— and yet it is a building-block of the identities we assign to ourselves. The poetic is also (importantly) a wellspring of joy, hope, pleasure, and wonder. . . . It is a source of comfort and consolation when our fellow humans beings let us down, and when we feel that the universe really doesn’t care.”


“Those who make art we call artists. Anyone can be an artist. There are no tests to take, no certification required, and no particular skills needed. Similarly, anyone can call themselves an artist. (Conversely, anyone can be an artist but not call themselves one.) Accordingly, there are as many ways to be an artist as there are people on the planet. . . .”

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