What is art?

Design. Draw. Do.
3 min readFeb 2, 2022


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Hey wonderful people,

I was watching a great video that defines art through multiple definitions from different people.

In this email, I wanted to share some of my favourite definitions which I empathised with from the video. I hope you’ll take something from this.

The dreamer

‘Art is the only way to run away without leaving home’ — Twyla Tharp

This is particularly true in the surge of streaming platforms. We can literally bring worlds into our bedroom whilst simply moving our fingers (wonder what it’s going to be like when we’re all in the metaverse!). If you’re interested, some recent ‘world-building’ stories I liked include The Silent Sea (Korean), and The Club (Turkish), both on Netflix.

The discoverer

‘Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” — Thomas Marton

If you’ve ever made so much art you get to a point in the process where you just — breakthrough. It’s an almost awe-inspiring, crazy feeling. You realise that you’ve discovered something awesome — but you still have so much left to do, so far left to go. You have discovered the tip of the iceberg (which is a great feat in and of itself), but you can see the great mass that lies beneath the surface.

I must add, I’m not much of an adventurer — I get to break through points, then don’t dive deeper. Definitely something to work on.

The designer

‘Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him’ — Chinua Achebe, The Truth of Fiction, 1990

As I talked about in my video two weeks ago, art allows me to be present and enjoy my own life. The last two years of being in the same place, with the same routine, have led me to become jaded to the privileges and whimsy in my daily life. Complacency and ingratitude cloud my judgement and I see nothing but ‘sameness’.

But art comes to remedy that. Drawing what I see on my daily commute builds markers of importance into my routine. The tree, building or scene I drew holds tight into my memory and creates an affectionate bond that makes me come to appreciate the mundane sights. My little A6 Sketchbook and pencil allow me to create ‘a different order of reality’.

The doer

“What you’re trying to create is a certain kind of an indispensable presence, where your position in the narrative is not contingent on whether somebody likes you or somebody knows you or somebody’s a friend or somebody’s being generous to you.” — Kerry James Marshall, NPR News, 2017

This quote summarises exactly why I wanted to change my channel name from Noor Majid (my name) to Design. Draw. Do. I saw my channel, and everything associated with it, as being part of a larger entity, a greater whole that went beyond me.

Design Draw Do, eventually, will become independent of me. It will live on, greater than me, beyond me, as the legacy that I leave behind. It’s not dependent on whether someone knows me, or likes me, as Marshall says above.

That is my hope.

What about you?

What does art mean for you? How does art help you in your life? What do you think of the above quotes?

If you watch the video, share with me your favourite quotes. Or let me know what your take on the loaded word ‘art’ really is. I’d love to hear your thoughts so just hit the reply button. Let’s have a creative convo!

P.s. if you’re interested, here’s the backstory behind my channel name.

Some of you may wonder — why did I choose that name. Here’s the (relatively short) backstory.

A combination of my day job (as a graphic designer), my art hobby (manifested mostly through sketching), and my love of productivity (self-help ftw), this triple whammy name stuck like gum to a shoe and I love it (my name, that is, not sticky shoes!).

And that’s it!

As much as I love the name, I’ve come across a major issue (i.e. that I don’t do much designing on the channel!). I don’t have any plans to change the name, but rather, to figure out how to integrate the ‘design’ and the ‘draw’ part. My future mission is to find the intersection, if you will.

But that’s for another time…



Design. Draw. Do.

Hi! I’m Noor I make videos and write daily about art, productivity and creativity (the sketching, painting kind). https://youtube.com/c/DesignDrawDo