The Artist Manifesto: Will You Create?

What does it take to be an artist, to be a creative force for good in the world? Months ago, I penned some words trying to answer that very question.

I commissioned my friend, the talented Mandy Thompson (who knows better than most what it means to be an artist), to put some visuals to the words. Here’s what we (she) came up with:

Artist Manifesto

And here’s my boring text version:

The Artist Manifesto

This is it. NO TURNING BACK. No excuses, no delays. Time to sit down and focus. To show up and create. To paint and play and craft. To DREAM and vision-cast.

To make all things new.

This is beauty in action. Life in full swing. THIS IS ART.

There are no ringside seats or sick days. Everyone must play. No second chances. You only get one shot. All you have is today.

THE TIME IS NOW. To inspire wonder and awe. To speak up in a world fast asleep at the wheel.

We’re counting on you. To be creative. To AWAKEN our souls with beauty. To use your heart and hands to bring meaning back into the universe.

Because without you we are all lost.

Life makes no sense without prophets and poets.

We need you to DO THE WORK and honor your call. To tap into the Muse and find your voice.

We cannot do this alone. We have lost the child-within. That part of us content to stare at clouds — at home with magic and mystery. We need your help to find her. So that we can dance and laugh and sing. So that we can BE WHOLE once again.


Share this manifesto

If this resonates with you, feel free to share this page with a friend. You can pin ittweet it, or Facebook it.

You can also print it off or save it to your desktop. Heck, you can even repost it to your blog or website, if you want (just link back here, please).

Here are a few tweetable quotes:

  • “This is beauty in action. Life in full swing. This is art.” (Tweet this)
  • “We’re counting on you. To be creative. To awaken our souls with beauty.” (Tweet this)
  • “Life makes no sense without prophets and poets.” (Tweet this)

This is something we’re sharing, because we want to see it spread. And if you want something more than a version for your computer screen, read on…

How to buy a print

Okay, before your defense mechanisms go up, you need to know two things:

  1. Mandy did all this work for free. She’s a talented artist who deserves to be compensated for her work somehow. She’s also recently opened up her home to foster two little ones, so you can imagine how a little extra cashflow wouldn’t hurt.
  2. I won’t be making a dime off of any of this. No affiliate deals here. I just wrote the thing; she turned it into a piece of art (and therefore deserves the credit). My hope is she’ll find a few kind patrons in you lovely readers.

If you’re interested in picking up a collector’s edition print (supplies are limited), Mandy has several versions of the manifesto in her Etsy store.

If you wrote a manifesto, what would it be about? Share in the comments.

63 thoughts on “The Artist Manifesto: Will You Create?

  1. Hi Jeff/Mandy,

    This is so cool! 🙂 I’m also happy to see the PHP currency because I’m from the Philippines. Hehe! 🙂

    I would like to buy one but I guess the shipment would be much more expensive than the actual art. May I buy the high-resolution digital copy? I’ll just print and frame it here in the Philippines.

    It would be nice to see Jeff Goins’ and Mandy’s art work displayed in my home-office.

    And by the way, it’s very noble of Mandy to foster two children.




  2. I read this while procrastinating getting started on a new project. This is beautiful, and timely. It stirs up the urgency to recognize the true value of what we do. “The time is now”, and waiting for approval is only making me very late. Be blessed.

  3. I recently read in the awesome book, Chazown, a quote that I will paraphrase and try not to butcher.  It went something like “Success is not what you are at the end of your life.  Success is being the best you can be for God TODAY with all that you have and all that you are.”

    Something like that.

    Don’t wait to eat off the fine china.  Enjoy it now.  Today’s all you have.  Make it a good one for God.

  4. Beautiful on so many levels.  The words create an urgency to share the gifts of talent I’ve received.  The art nurtures my soul to find a burst of new creativity deep within me.  

    The manifesto I would write would be for those who seek Peace in their lives.

    Thank you Jeff and Mandy for sharing this inspiring, motivating collaboration.  And thanks for making the prints available.  I’ve already snatched a couple.

  5. My Manifesto would be about my beliefs, my children, husband and family. The sadness and challenges. It would be about who I am and who God wants me to be. It would be about me not being in charge and God has a plan. He is crazy about us. About my voice and the changes for good I do and about being honest, about being me. The authentic me right now. 

  6. A manifesto that I’m planning on writing soon (other writing projects are higher on Priority list), will be about Not quite being a Follower – embracing “You” and realizing that the world doesn’t get to tell you who you are.

  7. My manifesto is about living without fear because God really is in control. It is asking the question, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” and answering it with, “You can’t fail with Christ, so do it.”  My manifesto is less about the art and more about the Artist who wants to live through us. 

    A very inspiring manifesto and question, too. Thanks for getting me thinking.

  8. Great manifesto and love her collage of it!

    I have been working on my manifesto since the Tribe writers conf call last week where you talked about it. Loved what you said,
    A manifesto is   a short statement of purpose that calls people to action 
    I have been working on developing my concept for the last week and have just begun to bleed the early writing of it.  The Story that is Mine to  Tell is about owning the life that is mine to live rather than lament the life that I wish I was living. 

    I’m shooting for about 12oo words which seems to be my patterned length of writing.  I intend to give it away and hope that it will accomplish two things:

    – inspire people to value the story that is theirs to tell
    – reach new readers 

    You have become like a coach to me, Jeff. Thanks for all you do…. and for staying true to the story that is yours to tell!

  9. Absolutely love it, and thank you for sharing it.  I am definitely taking it with me.  Made me tear up.

  10. This is so beautiful. Mandy’s work is gorgeous. She is very talented. If I had a Manifesto, which I’ve been thinking of writing lately, it would be about why we’re here on earth – to rise up and become our Highest Self and fulfill our potential, and to aid each other in that endeavor. 🙂

  11. This is a very nice sentiment that could only be penned by an artist. As far as society asking to be led by artists, when have they ever? The general attitude of the layman who is concerned at all with art is that it is your privelege to have sufferred so for all those years to at last bring him this work of beauty so he can make 10 million bucks on it after you’re dead, when he wouldn’t give you a 20 dollar bill for it while you were living.

    You do art because it is given you to do and you love it, not because society needs you. If you want to get a message across, be a preacher. If you want to inform the public, be a teacher. The purpose of the artist is to create beauty because it is beautiful and only he can create it. Art is not an act of altruism. ART FOR ART’S SAKE!

    As history has proven, society doesn’t care if its artists starve. Look at the biography of any great artist if you don’t believe it. Starving in a garret is the only hobby a serious artist has got, living on coffee and cigarettes so he can afford the materials to work.

    Besides, make the world a more beautiful place? What the hell is an artist going to do if the world all the sudden becomes a beautiful place? It would be like trying to be a comedian in Heaven.

  12. Of all the artist manifestos that I’ve seen this is one of the weakest. It just doesn’t resonate with me. Sorry.

  13. I love the partnership of visual artist & word artist. You gave me voice to affirm my role next to my husband the prophet. Sometimes poet and prophet see the world from opposite perspectives. You words brought both together in ministry empowering both voices. The manifesto that I’m pondering right now is about marriage. Or Living with Open hands!

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