The following essays were submitted by Linda Tieu, Richard Edde, Naran Singh, and Mariane H. Tveter. They have been edited for length and clarity. If you’d like, feel free to click through and learn more about each artist.
Art is expression, the original language of humankind.
I believe that art is the expression of thoughts and emotions—emotions that can be very difficult to describe or explain in plain words. Because of that, art comes in many forms, typically whatever form is suited to the artist and his expression.
It is important for the community to acknowledge that art benefits all of us. . . our souls AND our lives together. Humans are naturally social creatures, and always have been. Far back in history, we see man expressing himself through sculpture and paintings on cave walls.
Since art has the ability to conjure up emotions, and deep feelings that resonate within all of us, perhaps the best description for “art” is simply this:
Art is the original language of humankind.
And everyone has an artist within. Children create and express themselves in their own way before they learn to speak. Some people embrace the artist within more so than others, and we call them artists by profession.
You can certainly learn new artistic skills and improve the technical aspects of your art as with any other profession. But the true “artiste” within. . . it exists within every single person.
It’s up to you whether you let it out and give yourself the freedom to express it—in whatever form it might take.
Since World War I art lovers have grown accustomed to viewing what we call “modern art.” Modern art fills our museums, our schools, our magazines, even jump out of our television sets.
Furthermore, modern artists—beginning with Matisse and Picasso and continuing through Pollock to the present—have pressured us to deny the evidence of our own senses. We have been taught to believe that these modernists are the most brilliant artists in all of history.
They haven’t told us lies like traditional painters—they tell us the truth. They do not paint scenes rooted in reality or the imagination. They tell it like it is. They give us something that is not banal, silly, or inane. Or even beautiful. It is a greater truth.
But what is that great truth, you ask?
Incredible as it may seem, modern artists have simply proved that the canvas is flat—flat and thin—and lacking in depth.
Look at Picasso’s paintings. They have been called masterpieces, and are supposed to elicit an emotion by the viewer. But do they? Frankly, they leave me (and many other art lovers) cold.
Where is the reality, the beauty? Where is the depth of field, the perspective? It simply does not exist in “modern art.”
Picasso created works in which the forms and shaped do not align or create any cohesive form. In fact, Picasso rejected all prior artistic standards. At best, they are Rorschach inkblots.
You have to be taught to love Picasso because no one would do so otherwise.
But people don’t have to be taught to love Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Chopin, Beethoven, or even Tom Sawyer.
The point is, when everything can be considered art, then nothing is art.
Almost everything that can be conceived by the human mind and portrayed in traditional formats (music, art, architecture, etc) is said to be art.
Yet art is more than that.
When car companies advertise their product as “a work of art” we see what our concept of “art” really is. Art is a status symbol that’s reserved only for the very best. Art is more than ordinary.
But of course, this does not tell the whole story. Simple etchings on the walls of ancient caves tell the story of how people lived, how they worshiped and ultimately how they died. Art is truth, and history.
And there is even more. . . The Impressionists, Monet, Renoir, Degas and others, changed our conception of art. But they did not usher in completely new art—just a different style of art. They took familiar subjects and painted them with a new style, broad strokes almost rendering the pieces unfinished. Van Gogh took it to extremes and created priceless works in the process. Picasso and the Cubists also created a different kind of art primarily using geometric shapes. Art is, by definition, unique.
Finally, art is what the end user perceives it to be. For me personally it is a piece of work that can take me to a place either to recapture memories or to escape the realities of my existence.
Art, in all its forms, brings joy to the world and that is why it is so important. I am an artist because, believe it or not, it is the only knowledge that I have which was given to me by God. Everything else I know—from walking, talking and running a business were talents that I learned along the way. Not so with art. It has taken a long time but I have come full circle.
As an artist, I have arrived where I first began and I wish to be nowhere else.
What is art? Why is it important? And why am I an artist?
Let’s start by differentiating between two things:
1) the object, and 2) the action.
In my opinion, it is the action, not the object itself that is “art.” Art objects are a necessary manifestation of any creative act with a specific, exploratory intention.
For the artist, the work that is created—whether music, text, sculpture, happening, drawing or painting (just to mention a few outlets)—are stages on the way to reach deeper insight into oneself or the surrounding world.
Our creative acts are always in relation to something—and when the action has reached a certain stage where we can go no further with that specific piece we stop, discard it and move on, hopefully doing even better next time. . .
Art objects are a reflection, a manifestation of a certain mindstate. By contemplating other artists’ work we gain a fresh insight into something different, something new and refreshing—whether through contrast or harmony with our own ideas and worldviews.
With our own work we gain a specific and particular kind of freedom: we free ourselves from the superficial way of observing events and objects and relations and can let our mind expand. It helps us in our quest to grow as humans.
Why am I an artist? I have tried NOT to be an artist but the urge to create seems to come creeping up on me. I cannot see any other way to manifest and explore the things I read, study, experience and dream about. . . so artist I must be.
It takes a lot of dedication and frustration and discipline and perseverance and hard work and even kindness to oneself and others—and patience, loads of it!
But when it works and I finally crack the code; when I move forward on something I stumbled on by accident, or gain a new insight, I get filled with an incredible energy and happiness. . . and those moments make it all worthwhile.
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