The Importance of Art

Image drawn by      Megan

Image drawn by Megan

Society has a complicated relationship with art. In our time off from work or school, we crave to do something fun that not only gives us a spark of excitement, but a robust sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. Having fun, playing, and simply engaging in whatever makes us happy makes our lives come full circle. It has always been critical that humans do things they enjoy; so much so that we always find ourselves coming up with quotes or anecdotes that harken back to that belief.

“Money can’t buy happiness.”

“Find work you love and you won’t work a day in your life.”

“Life is too short to be doing what you don’t enjoy.”

These are among a few.

Naturally, we refer to activities such as painting, poetry, traveling, movie-watching as things we would love to do all day, every day because these activities are perceived as enjoyable and stress-free.

But from the mind of an artist—one who has deliberately chosen to make art her life, and a living off of it—perspectives suddenly become very different. Art isn’t boiled down to simplistic, subjective notions that change on a whim. While art involves different tastes, it also pulls forward a wide array of objective rules, guidelines, expectations. The job of an artist is to make people see and feel.

If that task was so easy to accomplish, what stops most people from being satisfied at looking at one building, one painting, or one statue for the rest of his or her life? You will rarely find someone who, after looking at the first brick building on their trip to Italy say, “Alright, I’ve seen enough. Let’s turn back.”

You will rarely find a person who enjoys living in a room completely devoid of color, with one chosen material for furniture, or fifty pairs of the same shirt.

Art is so much more than a painting hanging on a wall or a statue with impeccable form and a missing nose; it is in the familiarity of our favorite sweater, the pride in the remarkable architecture of an institution we attend, even in the consciousness of viewing perfectly aligned words on a magazine spread.

Without artists—people dedicated to studying the minds of others, life would fall completely flat. Art involves many different factors; most importantly, Art involves many layers. That is what most of the public fails to understand.

A single logo, a single 45-second video—can go through months of creative processes, undergo hours of critique to refine and edit the final piece to get as close to perfection as possible.

A lay person would be confused as to what someone could possibly think or say about a measly 45-second video which adds weeks upon weeks of refinement.

“Don’t they just kind of, you know, whip something up? Play around until they get it right?”

The short answer: No.

The fact that we have the freedom to play is one of the many rewards of being an artist. However, the gift of creativity is just that: a gift. Not the solution.

More on art, solutions, and design in The Importance of Art: part 2.

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