Have you ever asked yourself what goes on in the head of an artist, and what makes them do what they do?
Being the personality I am...I have. I can only speak for myself, but here is the break down -
Firstly, there is a small element of "attention seeking" going on, as in "look at this, I awesome/special because I can do this". Added gratification comes when the supreme compliment happens, and someone likes your art enough to shell out real dollars for it (doesn't matter how much in most cases).
Secondly, and far more importantly (for me anyway), is the pure pleasure that one gets from making pleasing marks, colours and textures on all manner of surfaces and materials. Art is done mostly for the sole pleasure of DOING, and being in the moment (for however many hours and cold cuppas that is).
Lastly, I do art BECAUSE I MUST. It is who I am, and the more I do, the more I must. My head doesn't turn off any more. I am constantly looking for ways to portray what is around me. For example, I see the clouds as I am travelling, and I am working out in my mind what colours I would use to get that exact shade of sunset. Distracting at times, yes, but I am never bored.
So...just a little of what may be going on in the head of your friendly neighbourhood artist...they aren't ignoring you, just sizing up the view for the next canvas...