Why Is Art Important? – Understanding Why Humans Make and Value Art
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Art is around us wherever we look. Art is the photographs we capture, it is the decor in our homes, and obviously, art is what we see in fine art galleries and bring home to hang on our walls. So, why is art important? Will we answer this question with another question? Can you imagine a world without salt and pepper to flavor your food? Or the trees and oceans that provide us with such natural viewing entertainment? Well, for many people, the same could be said about art, and those who do not realize this yet would surely notice the lack of flavor in cultures around the world without the various art styles. This article will focus on the importance of arts for our mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as answering the question, why is art important to various cultures?
Table of Contents
- 1 Art Explained
- 2 The Importance of Art
- 3 Art Is Infinitely Constant
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Art is not something that can easily be classified, especially when it comes to contemporary art. Art is a form of expression that has been influenced and molded by the entirety of the human species’ existence, and all of human cultural and social developments. Art is an inspiration, facilitating the eras, and influencing our actions, even striking up resistance when political times are rough. Art is also a means of enabling seeing: a method for showing the world, ideas, and experiences in ways that encourage people to regard them anew.
The importance of art stretches far and wide, not discriminating between cultures, but differentiating between them. It is important because, without this form of expression, so many would not have a healthy outlet for their thoughts and feelings. It’s important to preserve culture, and for us to learn about our history as a species through our various art forms.
One could argue that simply creating art from the idea you have inside our head, with the idea that it is a piece of art that you are creating, will create an impetus, which is the word we use for the feeling that is ignited when you view art or make something that is deeply satisfying to you. This impetus can also be inspired by the act of crying, laughing, or using an appliance that works as it is meant to.
As we have mentioned before, art can be pretty much anything if you have created it to be so. Therefore, art is defined according to our perceptions. Some people might look at a statue or a display and they might laugh it off, where others might have a deeper feeling inspired from their mind or their gut. If you were to go online and search for the definition of art, you might come across the Merriam-Webster dictionary that has a few definitions for the term art. Some of them are as follows:
- “skill acquired by experience, study, or observation – the art of making friends”
- “a branch of learning: humanities”
- “an occupation requiring knowledge or skill – the art of organ building”
- “the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects – the art of painting landscapes”
From these definitions, we can see that art is more of the skill than the actual artwork. “The art of organ building” is a great example of this because it shows how complicated the task is, and that compilation or intricacy makes it similar to an art form.
If you were to go back to the Latin origins, the word we know in English today comes from the word Artum, which is translated to “craft” or “skill”. This translation and the definition correlate because the creation of art can be as simple as expression, but it is also a learned skill that may or may not be intricately complicated.
Art will have had different definitions over the different eras. Even though it has always been used to record significant events or portray them in certain lights, they have served as stone setters in our timelines. During the Renaissance period, art was far more strict than free-flowing, and artists would have been educated in the arts to form a distinction between craftsmen and artists.
The 20th century and onwards saw a great change in the acceptance of art and the reliance we may have on it to be a conductor of our ideas and expressions. There are fewer restrictions, and in some artforms there are none at all. Art is a form of communication, protest, and bringing out awareness. The rigidity of criteria slackened and now there are pretty much no limitations when it comes to creating art. More mediums were invented and accepted, other than the standard oil paints and marble sculptures.
With the rise of the industrial revolution, electricity and factories elevated the accessibility of all mediums, and canvases for painting. All facets of art became more approachable because things were more affordable. Art went from being a noble affair and not worthy of poverty, but now it is a practice for the people.
The Various Forms of Art
When you listen to music, you can hear the difference between all the genres, right? Classical music is not the same as rock-n-roll or country-folk music, is it? No. Art too has the genres that it can be classified as. These are the different forms that it comes in, like drawing, painting, sculpting, and more.
Dancing is also a beautiful expression of art. The different movements of art might strike various feelings within those who are dancing and those who are watching. There are different styles of dance, relative to the many cultures we have in our world. The costumes that the dancers wear can also fall under the costume-as-art definition, expressing the emotions and contexts of the meaning behind the dance.
Technically, these are all subgenres in a grand scheme of genres. Art can also incorporate jewelry, pottery, or ceramics. Fashion design has even been regarded as a form of artistic expression. The importance of art stretches further than you might think because it helps to define the characteristics of our different cultures.
The Importance of Art
The discussion of art has commenced, but, the question remains, why is art important? Or better yet, why is art important to culture? In this next section, we will get a little more into detail about the importance of arts.
The Universal Language: Art
The creative written word is also considered a deeply significant artform. In poetry and prose, metaphors and similes are employed to create mental images unique to every person who hears or reads them. These words and the mental imagery they evoke will be influenced by individual experiences, triggering a vast variety of responses.
Visual art can draw on more universal communicative strategies than the verbal arts. It does not require its audience to have fluency in a specific language to fully comprehend what is being expressed. Visual artists can rely on formal elements such as color, line, form, and pattern to evoke a range of feelings and thoughts. Symbolism however, functions as a kind of visual language in that symbols are specific to particular cultures, even though some images (like the sun and moon) can signify similar ideas across various artistic and cultural traditions.
Why is art important for the artist? Just like the one who views the art, in whatever form, and has emotions and thoughts triggered by the artist who intended for their art to do so, the artist finds a deep satisfaction in the way that art enables expression. There are so many emotions and ideas that we keep bottled up within us, that is better to express than leave unattended. This helps us to resolve any subconscious issues that might be influencing our behavior.
Art can be used in many ways for purposes of self-expression. A common way that this is done is with tattoos! People use tattoos to express their personalities on their skin, or dance as a form of physical expression. For abstract expressionist painters like Jackson Pollock, the very activity of applying paint and other media to a canvas in a variety of physically and emotionally expressive ways is an integral aspect of the resultant artwork.
Art, History, and Culture
The burning question is still apparent, why is art important to culture? It has made such a connection, even though the definition of what constitutes art have evolved so many times through the ages. But, is that not very similar to how we, as humans, have evolved as a species? The two are the same, in that art is a form of communication, commemoration, celebration, and expression, so ultimately, art is an expression of our story as a species.
We are very fortunate that we have artworks created in every human era, that have survived, even though some were made many millennia ago. We can step back in time, by viewing all these different forms of art. It might not be the easiest thing to empathize with the early humans who left their mark in caves across the globe like those at Lascaux, because that way of life is too remote for us, but seeing these vey ancient masterpieces gives an extraordinary insight into the full breadth of human history, and the role of art within it.
Our Development and Art
There are parts of our brain that are used for deciphering puzzles and interpreting images. This part can whither if it is not used and trained. So, you could say the greater your exposure to art, the more habituated you will be to engaging with complexity, and greater your ability to appreciate the different interpretations your mind creates.
Creativity is important because it exercises various regions of your brain. And yes, your brain is a muscle, so it needs to be used it it is to remain flexible and capable. The more intellectually challenging the art that you expose yourself to, the greater your ability to engage with the unfamiliar, the challenging, and the complex will be.
Art is also based on perspective, and usually very much so for the artist who created the piece. Art can improve empathy within people because it helps you see things from another’s perspective. In our opinion, this is one of the main reasons why art is important in life today. Learning to understand perspective through art is a valuable thing.
There is an undeniable emotional lift that we all experience when we encounter a beautiful object. Whether you are relying on the art that nature provides, or the vibrant colors of paintings in a gallery, a pleasant sensory influx can significantly alter your mood. That cross-stitch cover cushion is art, so is your hand-woven rug.
Art is also able to improve and add a sense of luxury, comfort, and meaning to many things in life, including the inside of your home. If you are on a budget, and the first home you bought or rented is not in great shape, you can use your interior design art skills to liven up your home, or workspace. A little bit of cleverly placed paint can go a long way. This is art in its own right!
The Social and Financial Benefits of Art
Art has a way of bringing people together. We are habitual creatures who tend to gravitate towards those who are like-minded to us. In this way, art can signify those people who share our ideals and values, so to say. Art invariably plays a strong social role, striking up conversations, or even debates, inspiring journeys across the globe, and uniting people together. The entire tourism industries of many countries are disproportionately reliant upon their art museums. Art has also become a commodity, with works by sought after artists bought and sold purely for their investment value.
For professional artists, there is the potential of significant financial benefits. Some artists can make a great name for themselves and earn a good income from selling their artwork. Many commercial artists sell their art at galleries and auctions, with some pieces achieving skyrocketing prices. Historically, artists were entirely reliant upon patrons who commissioned works, then dealers, galleries, and agents to represent them and sell their works. These days, artists can create their own audience with the rise of the internet. Any artist can now establish their own website and sell their artwork independently to collectors anywhere on the globe.
Art and Politics
Politics are an inevitable topic in most areas of our lives. There is so much influence and turmoil over the political side of things that it causes a massive amount of anger and civil unrest – our history books are filled with stories like this. In the past art has been many people’s salvation, being able to passive-aggressively get their notions, or their protest intentions out to the public. The powerful tool that is art has always been present in the political world, it just depends on who is expressing, and who is viewing.
Art can also be manipulative. Historically, politicians, activists, and insurrectionists have used art as a very effective propaganda tool to shape the opinions and ideas. Sculpture is a significant form of monumental art which has been used for centuries to honor and commemorate people who embodied the values and ideals of specific generations. When those values are later found to be wanting, the statues themselves become targets of new ideologies. Banners, posters, and flyers are also used to spread political ideas, and during election time, our streets are decorated with the many various posters on any open space, trying to lure in your vote with bright colors and smart fonts.
Some artists have openly shown their political and ideological affiliations in their art. Russian revolutionaries like the artist Kazimir Malevich expressed their opposition to the traditional Russian form of Tsarist government through the use of radically modernist abstractions in their art. After the revolution, the Soviet government used artwork in a stylized naturalism to convey the ideals of the new communist state. Pablo Picasso in his 1937 painting, Guernica conveyed his horror at the use of genocide as a strategy in 20th Century warfare. Another artist who used art as a means of political expression was Jacques-Louis David.
War has been a massive part of our development in our societies, political movements often resort to violence as a way to assert authority or change the way things work. A significant percentage of art explores the sorrows and aggressions of war. some artists have even celebrated conflict via glorified depictions.
Art Is Infinitely Constant
The nature of human life is ever-changing. We are continuously developing into something more, driven by our belief systems, morals, and values. A person is never stagnant in their development, and because of this, there will forever be a need for art, and the ability to express the confusions and revelations we experience throughout our lives.
We can look back in our timelines, personal, or general, and we can understand the parts of ourselves that we have grown from, as a way to become something new, and more developed. The only constant in our lives, with the change we go through, is in art. Artistic expressions are ever-changing without personal development, but it is always there, providing a touch-stone.
Another constant in art is the various mediums and materials we use to create it. Some artforms, like photography and digital art are entirely new. On the other hand, many traditional forms have evolved alongside the materials used in their production. the industrial revolution brought factory-made art materials, such as canvas and papers, paints, and pencils that have been improved but essentially provide the same service. Therefore, there are as many constants in the world of art as there are innovations.
Art will always be a dear friend to provide a means of self-expression, and without that, our development would take much longer. We need to be able express and engage with the feelings and ideas within us. We hope that with our informative article you have come to realize exactly why art is such an important part of our lives!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Art so Important?
In terms of the question, why is art important to the culture? The answer would be in the way we choose to express it. It is important because it allows differentiation between the various cultures. Religion, which is also a part of culture in general, uses art to depict significant events which would mark the change in our timelines. Art is important as a way for us to deal with our suppressed emotions and to be able to deal with our thoughts in a way that is less destructive, and more constructive.
Why is Art Important to Culture?
Culture has used art to depict their way of life in many different forms. Theatre, poetry, pottery, sculpting, painting, weaving, and so many different forms of art are perfectly relevant to specific cultures. It helps us to see our cultural development over the decades and it helps us to keep a record of significant role models, the cultural world, and events that changed the lives of many.
What are the Different Forms of Art?
Art is a very broad subject, taking on different forms in such a varied manner. Dancing is a form of art, using movement as a form of expression. Poetry and creative writing in general use linguistic power to influence the reader emotionally. Music is also an art that you can listen to, or perform, and painting, drawing, sculpting, weaving, and more are some of the different forms that art can take.
What is the Definition of Art?
Art is an English word that is derived from the Latin word, Artum, which is translated to mean “skill”. Art is not simply something that you can look at that will strike up a certain amount of feelings. The art of a skill is the intricacy it involves to learn it.