Before I go any further, I forgot to explain something very important - what I believe about art.
It's a bit long for one blog post, so let's dive in.
1. I believe that art can change the world.
Art itself is a language that can speak to the soul without the mind even knowing it. It took me a while to figure this out, and it took some help from books and my art history class. I can't yet describe exactly why I believe this, but I can tell you that art tells us what is beautiful, what is ugly, and it brings things to our attention. It gives us the opportunity to see the world through someone else's perspective. Since it gives us the opportunity to see the world through a new perspective, it can change my perspective, your perspective, and the perspective of enough people to make a difference.
2. I believe that art expresses truth.
Art isn't created to change the world, be acknowledged, be powerful, or pleasing to the eye. Any pice of art, of true art, seeks to express truth wether it is simply about art as a process, a person's opinion, or some bigger truth like what is beautiful or what needs to be changed. However, as humans and imperfect beings, we cannot truthfully recreate the world around us. Therefore we can use a series of false truths to make an important truth stand out.
If you look at a period of art and compare it to that time in history, the art shows what the people valued in the subject matter, style, and the way that it was created. Are the people from this time period strict and traditional? Are they seeking new ideas, entertainment, religion, romance or freedom? Were the pieces created with long years and dedication, were they created with more thought than skill, or were they created simply and easily with the purpose of being pleasing to the eye? Whatever the answer is, it shows the mindset and values of the artist who was a part of the period.
3. I believe that beautiful things are not always pretty.
Through my art history class, I came to this conclusion, yet I did not understand why until I read Art and Music by Paul Munson & Joshua Farris Drake. The book explains that the classical view believes that beauty is found in the thing perceived, assumes that beauty is uniform and good, and thus beauty becomes the purpose of life. The postmodernist (average American) believes beauty is what brings us pleasure and is found in the perceiver instead of the thing perceived. Their "beauty" doesn't say much, it avoids challenging the viewer and focuses on providing a pleasant experience. However, when "beauty" is used in the Bible it is "the forms in which we recognize the nature and ways of God." It recognizes the goodness and glory of God through his creation. Therefore, since God is truth, the purpose of beauty is to help us to recognize truths. The truth is not always pretty, art shouldn't be either.
This is a very hard concept to summarize, but if you are curious pick up Art and Music by Paul Munson & Joshua Farris Drake and read chapter 1. It helped me to understand that beauty is often under-regarded.
4. I also believe that art is evidence that humans have a soul.
In Genesis it states that God created men (and women) in His image (or likeness). Notice that he didn't create any of the animals or plants or elements in his image, only mankind. Also notice that mankind is the only species that, like God, create new and interesting things. Sure, spiders make webs and birds poop but they aren't expressing themselves or ideas. Have you ever wondered why art effects us emotionally? Or noticed that we can sometimes make a strange connection to art? Realistically, art is just a bunch of colors and shapes on a 2D or 3D plane. Whether an artist depicts something real or not, he/she wants to bring something to your attention. Humans have done this for ages, ever since the stone age where we would paint important creatures and stories on walls with religious, ceremonial implications.
5. I believe that art comes from the artist's soul,
and I've seen that beautiful art is created by even more beautiful people. When an artist creates, they have no choice but to reach down inside of themselves and pull out something valuable, something worth the hard work for others to see. Sometimes it is by inspiration and sometimes it is by choice, either way, an artist displays their soul in their work. This is a reason why I love nature, it is God's handiwork. The essence of God is displayed in nature, and it communicates with my soul, bubbles over into my emotions, and then to my mind saying "how vast and wonderful the creator of the universe must be to create such a dynamic and beautiful world.”
6. I believe that one must approach art carefully.
As I learned in Art and Music by Paul Munson & Joshua Farris Drake, there are two ways to view art. The first way is view or use art with preconceived purposes. This is where you look at art and read your own meaning into it. You expect to get something out of art and if you don't get what you want, you are unimpressed and disappointed. On the other hand, if you do get what you want out of the piece, you are most likely reading it wrong. This way deprives us of the full experience and limits what we can appreciate. This way of reading is pleased by the familiar, where we can be stimulated while staying within our comfort zone, not being challenged by new thoughts or ideas. Viewing art this way offers the feelings of an emotional life without the healthy struggle that normally comes with it.
The second way to view art is difficult and challenging, yet rewarding. Instead of being based on expectations, viewing art should be based on reception. To do this, we have to forget our personal feelings, interests, and preferences so that they don't interfere with the artist's message. Next, we must look at the pice, examine it, see what it brings to mind, and ask ourselves what the artist is trying to say. Notice who the artist is speaking to and how they are saying what they say. If we view art this way, we will be challenged, confused, disappointed, and enriched. Sometimes the message is simple and we over think it, sometimes seemingly shallow images have deep implications, and sometimes works have both shallow and deep messages.
7. I believe that art is created out of passion.
Not passion for money or fame but passion for the medium, subject, or idea. Even if a piece of art is created for money with hopes of becoming known, the artist must grasp onto something that they are passionate about in order to pour their time, work, and soul into a piece. Nearly all artists that were famous in their time aren't even heard of now while the artists who created out of a strong passion were eventually recognized and are cherished. Take Vincent Van Gogh as an example, he was despised by people in his town and had to be financially supported by his brother, but his art came from a fire inside.
Now we can see that his art expressed many ideas and brought attention to both good and dreadful things, we can see upon inspection that it was created very purposely and passionately.
As I learn more about art as a lifestyle, verb, and noun, I expect these beliefs to change but look forward to tracking how they change. I have not discussed these beliefs with most people close to me, it is somewhat difficult to talk about because I have to think about it so hard. Writing this blog gives me the opportunity to explore and express my thoughts while becoming venerable, as an artist must be. Please, give me your perspective on my perspective.