April 27th, 2012

Brandon Cook - "The Gate," Oil, 2012

Why We Need Art, by John DeMarco

This post is by guest author, John DeMarco.  This article has been edited and published with the author’s permission on Fine Art Views, and is re-posted here as an educational tidbit.

Here’s a topic that demands a whole book rather than a few quickly noted ideas in a blog. There are lots of good and valid reasons why we need art, and it’s my intention to explore many of them at later dates, but my purpose in this first installment is to focus on a few which, for me, are fundamental.

I’ll start off by saying that art is an undeniable aspect of the evolution of our species. When a new connection is made in the mind, or when a new feeling registers in the heart, you can be certain that it will find its way quickly, in some form or another, into art. I’m speaking here, generally, of all the arts. They are one and the same in that they act as a channel for the changes that we go through, and they serve not only as a means of embodying new ideas, but as a means of disseminating them. In this way, the arts serve as a language.

An artist’s chosen field of expression depends on his or her nature, and all of the expressions are equally important and serve a function to the whole of the Arts. They are like the organs in a body, and function as a mirror for the soul’s experience of its own humanity. Vision, both inward and outward, are expressed through the visual arts, movement of the body, is expressed through dance, dreams are expressed through film, both smell and taste are expressed through the culinary arts, listening is expressed through music, and so on, through all possible combinations of feeling and sense perception. In this way, the arts are a vehicle for how we sense our world.

In an age of politics, where entire agendas can be hidden behind words and flimsy promises, the world of art is usually pretty lucid about its intended message. Indeed, it may appear in code, contained in metaphor or symbol, but art is a language meant to speak the things that can’t be said in mere passing words. In this way, art can provide a much more honest, immediate, and multi-dimensional means of expressing what we’re sensing, allowing awareness to spread more rapidly in its outreach.

Art, now more than ever, is a necessity of life. It’s here to remind us, even in these confusing and rather unstable times, that there’s a reason to press on, to follow our passions, and to celebrate. Art offers authenticity in a world of duplication, honesty in a world of deception, and subtlety in a world of heavy-handedness; art offers a glimpse into another person’s soul, which in turn will give you a glimpse into your own. These, I believe, are the central reasons why we are driven to create and to appreciate the creations of others. Art is expressive, expansive and evolutive. And it is spiritual and sacred in that it leads us to a deeper, broader, more honest awareness of what, and why, we are.

The arts, if they’re properly fed, can help our world avoid a crash and burn; and if they’re not fed, and we do crash, it will be the arts that lift us back up again. Why? Because whether you are artist or audience, they open a threshold through which creative energy enters our lives. This is really why we need art. Creativity is the blood of the soul.

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