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.