One day as I was painting (a design on a shield I recall), my stepfather comes up behind me and says, "Why are you doing that? I didn't know there was a big call for painted shields." He was being sarcastic but his point was clear: "Why are you wasting your time with that? It doesn't do anything and it won't make you any money." He was right. It doesn't and it didn't. I just responded with something like, " Because I want to."
As I was reading the new National Geographic today I came upon an article about an aged couple who do artwork. They create huge works of art that cost millions of dollars to produce. They hang huge sheets of fabric in parks and landscapes and each show only hangs for two weeks then it's gone. Forever. They pay for all the costs themselves (their preparatory work sells between the 5 and 6 figure range which finance their projects), accept no public funding or corporate sponsorship, make no money on the artwork itself, and accept all the headaches that go along with it (logistics,permits, public hearings, opposition groups, etc...). When asked why they do it they responded:
" All our projects are absolutely irrational with no justification to exist. They are created because Jeanne-Claude and I (Christo) have this unstoppable urge to create. They are made first for us. Not the public."
I wish I would have had this quote handy when my stepfather had asked.