Why Do It? 9 Creators Weigh In

Few people will say that the full-time creator’s life is easy. There can be vulnerability in presenting your work, financial instability, waves of self-doubt, pressure to get a ‘real job.’ So, why do artists persist?

We mined some of our Vancouver creator profiles from the last year for some insight:

“It feels so freeing. I’m doing what I love, I don’t have to drive that horrible highway every day and I can take the dog for a run if I want to.”
Laura Mark

“Somehow, I just believed that I could be an artist. When I was three, my father taught me how to draw a star. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – 5 lines can draw a star. Three year old me drew a really good star. I had the same feeling then as when I drew the small seed on the four foot canvas. I felt really good and proud of myself and knew I wanted to be an artist.”
Kaori Kasai. 

“I sure do appreciate being able to express art. I think it’s important in a society. It can be pleasing to the eye. It can be controversial. It can make people think. Jewellery has always had a talismanic effect on people. There are superstitions around it. We have been adorning ourselves since the caveman era.”
Hélène Bourget. 

“Since I was young, it was always apparent that I would navigate through life with my hands.”
Lincoln Heller•••

“Wood is stubborn. There are knots and grains that push back against the execution of your idea – real gravity, physics – which actually pushes you to discover solutions that shift the image, which means the process leads to surprises even for the creator. Which is great. And frustrating. At the same time. “
Judd Palmer

My portrait illustrations are very different for me – the process, that is. I love it. It can be challenging and also maddening, though. Then, sometimes I get to this point where I learn how to deal with the challenging/maddening stage, to just trust the process, and then it’s just me, undistracted, and the unwanted voices and noise go away. At that point, I can be calm and I can try to listen to what it is I want to say through the illustration in front of me. That’s where the fun begins.”
Mandy Lau

“I find joy in the limitations of my designs – the making of each piece, just a little bit different, maybe a little bit better.  Truly being where your hands are is a great way to live.  I always have something on the back burner: a new glaze, a new technique for developing lines.  It sweetens every firing.”
Julie Mackinnon

“I have wanted to be an artist ever since I was a child and it never occurred to me to pursue a different path. I am determined to do what I love and I know that this is a huge privilege. “
Janice Wu

“The theatre world to me is the real world. It’s not an escape. It is the real world.”
Don Mowatt

By Elizabeth Newton

i. Header image: Juan Gris. Still Life with a Guitar. 1913

ii. William Orpen. Self Portrait. 1910

iii. Edgar Degas. The Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage. 1874


Kamal Jit Q/A


Capturing Vancouver

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton