Art that is not motivated is dead. Lifeless. Ergo, unmotivated art becomes little more than art for the sake of art. I respect those who manage to make something “pretty.” And for some people, the mere desire to create something “pretty” may serve as enough of a motivator. However, there is a difference between something “pretty” and something moving. As artists, we strive for the later.
I find that the single best motivator is the audience. I play for the audience. Now, understand that this does NOT mean that I believe an actor should play or, God forbid, pander to a crowd. To play for the audience means that we, as actors, seek to leave the audience restless. I want a play to linger with people. I had the great pleasure of seeing a student-produced production of Will Eno’s The Flu Season. For the past three days, I have not been able to shake that play from my mind, and that is what I want from an audience. My motivation is the ever-present thought that I might affect someone.
Art for art’s sake is… nice. But that’s the problem. It’s only “nice”. It’s only “pretty”. It’s only “pleasant”. I want to make art that is beautiful, terrifying, electric, devastating, hilarious, and any other adjective that is a more apt descriptor than plain old “nice”. If my work is ever described as “nice”, I know that I have not done my job as an artist.