What I think we desire to do as artists:
Create [more] beautiful things!
Beauty is subjective
Beauty is subjective to you. Thus your aim is to create things which are beautiful in your eyes.
And let us not get suckered:
Just because something is subjective doesn’t mean it is unworthy.
The wrong-notion in philosophy is that ‘objectivity’ is the ultimate arbiter of truth, and the only legitimate form of knowledge.
No. Art is all subjective. True art is and must be subjective.
Why do we desire to create beautiful things?
I think we desire to create beautiful things because when we create beautiful things (or witness beautiful things), we feel deep joy, invigorated power, and hope/optimism for life.
Generally speaking, what we perceive as ‘ugly’ depresses us. Nietzsche’s notion of why people travel abroad to Italy, create epic homes, and make gardens is to try to remove all forms of ugliness from their eyes (as if somehow visiting a beautiful place makes us more beautiful).
Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder
No matter if you got the most beautiful ape, the ape would still look ugly to a human being.
But similarly, the most beautiful human probably looks ugly to an ape.
I forget which philosopher said this– but something along the lines of:
In Africa, all their gods have black faces. In Nordic countries, all of the gods have red hair.
The basic notion is this:
Even us as human beings– ‘beauty’ is highly variable according to race, culture, heritage, etc.
The takeaway point is:
Of course beauty is subjective to ourselves and our own eyes. But our goal isn’t to make everything beautiful for the masses [which will please everybody]. No — the goal is to create beautiful artworks which look beautiful to us — beautiful artworks which bring us deep pleasure and joy!
What do I consider beautiful?
Everyone has a different definition of beauty.
I see beauty in different forms.
I find beauty in darkness. I also find beauty in brightness and joy.
For me, a beautiful photograph isn’t always ‘pretty’. In fact, when I look at photos which are too ‘pretty’– I actually find them quite ugly (I hate looking at picture-perfect stock photos).
In terms of aesthetics, I generally prefer Japanese Zen/simple aesthetics — with a touch of natural elegance [wood, stone, texture, wabi-sabi].
What you consider beautiful changes
What I thought was beautiful at age 2, age 12, age 20, and now age 31 is different. It changes. And that is part of the fun and game!
Never stop making beautiful things, art-works, and photographs!