Art (and why we need it)

November 3, 2017


   My favourite image of myself as a child is one that my mum described so vividly that I can almost remember it; I was sitting on the beach with my legs in shallow, calm sea completely absorbed in doing a painting balanced upon my knees using the surrounding, lapping water to dip my brush.

Apparently I was deeply content and even happy to allow an admirer to swim up and join in, though my concentration did not wane.
   I still am happiest when at least my feet are in the sea, but there is much to be said about the sensation of being lost in creativity. If you've never had it you won't know what I'm talking about, but I'll try explain. You see when you paint, sketch, draw, mould, become an arm, an eye, a creator. You connect in a way that transcends simply observation. Somehow your cells open up and absorb and transmit. The sensation is of a totally legal and productive form of high. 
   There are, of course scientific explanations about this phenomenon. The brain is used in such a way that the pathways are triggered and cause multiple stimulus and benefits. (See links below) Not withstanding the excruciating, torturous frustrations that are suffered at times by us perpetrators of art. An unsolved design riddle or a painting stuck in its quagmire cause the darkest of mood clouds. Obstreperous outbursts and emotional volatility are often constants in the repertoire of us artists. We are not always renowned for being the best company while in our creative zones. 
   It takes ego to paint. Cooking food that feeds or doing work that earns make elementary sense, yet most artists have to struggle with conventional wisdom just to be able to allocate the necessary time that our disciplines require. Certainly at high school age I could not even consider making fine art my vocation because frankly, it just always seemed too decadent and too elitist. It's taken me some years to find others who advocate art as an essential part of humanity as well as the main cog in all kinds of progress.
   The arts, design, sciences, philosophy and all forms of creative thinking are intrinsic to each other so it is not weird that cross pollination and multi dimensional examples like Da Vinci occur. Many complimentary and mutually beneficial vocations share a foundation in the artistic process and every contemplation that takes someone outside of an existing box and beyond knowledge parameters to new concepts has its roots in art. If I pick some of the greats in their field at random; Einstein, Darwin, Socrates, Gandhi, Martin Luther King we can see that each is a creative genius in their own right and able to step beyond existing limitations because of freedom within their creative essence. I can't verify that these people practiced art per se, but I'm sure that their creativity is a form of art.  
   It is no coincidence that oppressive regimes eliminate the arts at the outset. It is through art that people expand, express themselves, connect and find ways to break through the boundaries of the present.  
   At high school we'd argue the validity of art vs science and despite my instincts and ancestral knowledge telling me of the profound importance of art it is only now that I feel sufficiently eloquent for that debate. For art is science. Art is instinct, it heals and is our collective experience and communication. Art is life and an essential part of Nurture Culture. Without art in all and any of its forms we lose the essential essence of human experience. 

(Links to: The reason the world needs art and artists)

(Scientific findings re effects of art upon brain and general health)

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