What is Art? And, Why Does it Matter?

March 12, 2018  •  4 Comments

 

     A couple weeks ago, I announced on my Facebook photography page that I had finished a major overhaul of my website and that, moving forward, I intend to create a weekly blog post.  So, this is the first in a series of articles I will publish each week, and with it I hope to spark your own imagination and creativity, to perhaps begin to see, think, and feel differently about the world around you.

     I grew up in an artistic home, where one of my parents was a painter and the other was a dreamer / seeker.  I myself learned to play musical instruments at an early age and fell in love with literature.  And, over the years, growing into adulthood, I felt a pull to create through photography.  So, art has always been at the core of who I am as a person, but I drifted away from making it a primary focus in my life for many years. 

     The universe, though, always has a way of conspiring to bring us back to who we are essentially…we just have to be open to see the signs and to follow them to find ourselves again.  And, here I am, more than a half century into this physical presence of mine, now focusing on art and working to create a life I feel called to live.

So, what is art? 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines art as:

“The expression of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.”

     Art is essentially something that can only really be defined by each individual, in my opinion.  The underpinnings of art are that it is the expression of human creative skill and imagination, this is true.  But, how these creative works are viewed, consumed, experienced, and appreciated (or not) is a completely unique and individual thing. 

     What I see as art may not be art to you at all.  And, the impact creative works have on me quite likely will have a completely different impact on you.  We each bring our own life experiences, expectations, belief systems, socio-political-economic standings, and emotional balances to creative works, and by virtue of all those things we will each see, think, and feel differently about the artistic work.

So, why then is art important?    

     If each of us brings something different to the viewing of, listening to, or reading of art...in the forms of visual, musical, and literary arts...why then does it matter?   

     For one, the fact that we each bring a unique perspective to the creation and consumption of art means that art has the ability to spark meaningful conversations between people of differing backgrounds.  And, this essentially leads to a better understanding of people who are different from us…thus, it can open the door for more universal acceptance; it can lead to social changes; and it can enable us to make connections we might not otherwise make.  

          It opens our inner eyes to new things, to new realities, and helps us to see less through the lens of differences and more through the lens of how we are all ultimately the same at the core of who we are as fellow sojourners in this world.

     Art also connects us to our own humanity.  It does this by making us feel something, by moving us internally.  It fuels our imaginations and helps us to envision a more meaningful existence in our day-to-day lives.  It inspires us to fall in love with the world around us, and it builds bridges that connect us to different cultures from our own.  Here's a beautiful short video I hope will touch you in a powerful way, as it did for me:

  

     Essentially, art has the power to bring more peace, harmony, love, and acceptance into the world, because art is created across all cultures and is a type of universal language that transcends barriers. 

     Art is a divine expression of who we are at the center of our being, and when we connect to this divine presence within us we can’t help but embrace that same divine presence in others…making the world a better place for all living things. 

 

 

We are ourselves created, thus we are made to also create, and art is a meaningful by-product of this creative expression.   

 

 

 

     I would love to hear your own thoughts about the meaning and value of art, so let’s open a discussion and talk about it. 

     Do you agree or disagree with the thoughts and ideas I’ve expressed here?  And, why?  What thoughts and ideas would you add that I may not have expressed?  In what ways has art influenced and affected your own life? 

     Please comment below, and let’s explore this idea of art as a change agent in the world. 

     Next week, I’ll be talking about some of the books that have been most relevant and pivotal to my transformational journey in the past couple years.  Until then, may you have a meaningful week and find ways to 'see' the unseen beauty all around you and to 'feel' with your heart the beautiful magic of existence.  Beauty and magic are out there…all you need to do is be open to experience them in unexpected ways.

     Feel free, also, to visit my social media links below to see the ways in which I make my own contributions to this idea of art for the highest good of all. 

Facebook     |     Twitter     |     Instagram

 


Comments

Stephanie Johnson Photography (StephJohnPhoto)
Thank you so much, Peter, for your comments and kind words! I appreciate you taking time to respond, as well as your support in this endeavor. I do hope you will find the content in this space meaningful and purposeful. Thank you so much for joining me on the journey. :)
Stephanie Johnson Photography (StephJohnPhoto)
Sharron ~ Thank you so much for such thoughtful comments and for weighing in on the discussion! Your response means a lot, and I really appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts. I totally agree that a lot of people these days tend to rush through life in a superficial way, never taking time to truly appreciate the wonder and mysteries of what it means to exist in this realm.

Thank you for sharing your 'a-ha' moment of finding a new way to 'see' the world around you. I'm so glad art played a pivotal role in that discovery and that you are able to see beauty in even the ordinary.

You are a wonderful photographer and I'm really grateful to have the opportunity to see and appreciate your work and your own creative vision unfold. We are all still learning, or should be each and every day, and I look forward to learning more from you along my own journey! :)
Sharron(non-registered)
A profoundly expressed, thought-provoking piece, Stephanie. Art, and the perception of beauty, is pivotal for our well-being and the promotion of empathy and understanding between all of us. Too many people rush through life only concerned with the banal and wonder why there is ‘something’ missing; they have closed their eyes to the beauty all around them. For me, this realisation came during my teens when I discovered 'Das große Rasenstück', a watercolour painting by Albrecht Dürer. Even in the seemingly mundane and ordinary, or the minuscule, such as a lump of turf, great beauty can be discovered for those who wish to see it. As a newbie photographer with much to learn, I look forward to your next blog and conversations with like-minded souls.
Peter(non-registered)
Nice start. Very practical. I think it will resonate with a lot of artists. I look forward to learning from your experience. Thanks for sharing.
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