Creativity as Practice: In Defense of “Bad” Art

Jessica Lentz

This year, I’ve started submitting more of my writings and getting them published here and there – an experience which, to me, has simultaneously felt incredibly fulfilling and also unbelievably vulnerable. It takes so much courage to put our creations out into the world and, all too often, we place way too much importance on how they are received by others and/or compare ourselves to more established creatives. In this vein, I wrote 2 poems called Cotton Candy Dream Land (A Dreamer’s Paradise) and An Ode to Cheap Art: in their own ways, they meditate on the importance of art-making and shift the emphasis from the “finished product” to the creative process itself, as well as to the emotions that come with making and/or receiving art. I do not think of creativity as an intrinsic quality a person is born with, but rather as a practice that is worth being pursued as and of itself: it allows us to enter the realm of personal expression, feeling and dreaming. So: I dare you to create! - Jessica Lentz

Cotton Candy Dream Land

an ode to cheap art

sometimes you will encounter poems
full of clichés, spelling mistakes and
typos, with endings hanging off them
like frills

or art exhibitions in dark backrooms, with
black-and-white photographs taped on walls,
blurry images blurring even more in front of
your drunk eyes

or movies with plot holes like craters,
mediocre actors, low budgets and
even lower ratings, entire stories hanging onto
a singular thread of tooth floss

yet these works of art will sparkle, rising
from nothingness, screaming regardless
in your face, stamping their feet violently,
shifting something in you to let in

their strange light, shining it relentlessly
onto your heart, and you will treasure them like
the most precious of gemstones, for what is the value
of art, if not to make us feel for the length of a moment? ︎

Jessica Lentz
is originally from Luxembourg and currently studies literature at the University of Amsterdam. She enjoys creative writing and experiments with visual art as well.

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