I have given it some thought over the years on why art is important and the answer is simply that there are going to be different reasons for different people. I think that most of us, however, can agree that it does have its place and purpose in society.
Whenever you go to places of business, you will often see at least some kind of art on the walls. It may be photography. It may be paintings. It may be digital pieces. It may simply be art inspired to promote a specific store or brand, but it is usually there.
Art makes bare walls more interesting and colorful. It gives people something to talk about and perhaps even contemplate for a while. What the heck is going on over there? Is that a dog? What on Earth?
It even gives people something to look at in waiting rooms when perhaps they are getting ready to hear the worst news of their life. It is there when the doctor comes out with the news that makes your legs turn to jelly and you nearly collapse on the floor. It is there when you get the news that the Cancer is in remission. Not today Cancer. Not today you spineless coward invading my body. I beat you! Just who do you think you are?
It is there when the tests indicate that you are not HIV positive despite that prick from a dirty needle. That was a close one. Too close! Is my job really worth the risks to my health? Maybe I should think about something a little safer. I don’t know. After all it is good money.
It is there through the stitches, the crutches, the bruises, and even the midnight runs to the restroom. Yet it is there. In fact, it is consistently in the background of our existence. Lurking about and just waiting for the opportunity for us to notice, to see, and ultimately to even care.
Whenever you move and take a minute to look at an empty room, there always seems to be something missing. When the family photographs, decor, and other works of art are safely packed away. An emptiness. A longing. A sense of lost identity and purpose stares back at you from those blank walls. They are oblivious. They don’t know the happiness you shared. How could they?
Something inside of you has that urge to want to fill that space. Fill that space with art that is controversial or a conversational piece. Art that has color and zest for life. Art that rings of a time when your world was ok, or perhaps even as close to perfect as you had ever envisioned for yourself.
Art that reminds you of that beloved trip you took two years ago. Where did you go? Was it hiking on a crisp Autumn morning just so you could hear the leaves crunching beneath your feet? Is that your style? Or was it drinking a cold beverage on a beach with sand so white that you could remember it for a lifetime. Can you hear the waves?
Art that reminds you of the silly times in life. The times when you were so carefree. Art that reminds you of when you were still seeking your own identity and what mark you would leave on this planet.
Art that reminds you of the day you married the love of your life or safely brought your baby home from the hospital. Art that reminds you that you existed in this year and this very point in the vast existence of the history of time itself. You need proof? Just look at the photographs documenting a life worth living. A life that mattered to someone besides oneself. That is worth more than all the precious stones on the planet.
Art makes you question even your own eyesight. Are you really seeing what you think you are seeing? Are you falling into the well-laid trap of an optical illusion? Art makes your brain process information. It makes your brain process information to make sense of what your eyes are trying to tell you is true, but is it?
Is it really true or a layer of deception so intricately placed on the canvas that you question everything. You become curious and hyper aware. You start to notice tiny little details that the previous version of yourself may have carelessly missed. But not this new version. You are now you 2.0.
Silly art. I will not fall for you again. I beat you with your smug nose in the air thinking you are better than me. You don’t know me! You can’t judge my life because you just sit there thinking you can do no wrong. Well you can and you did!
Art makes you second guess. Art makes you enter a new world. A new setting. A new reality even. It is pure bliss and disturbing often rolled into a neat little package. For your pure enjoyment.
Art taps into your senses. You can almost smell that fresh apple pie. Does it remind you of Granny’s house? You can almost feel that warm sand on your feet. You can almost see a life time of knowledge in those eyes. You stare at them and they stare back. What are they trying to say? Do they have the answers to all of the questions you have asked the universe over the years?
Is that where the knowledge of the world is safety kept hiding in plain sight? Art within art? Knowledge slushing around in the scenes depicted in those masterpieces. The master artists knew what they were passing onto us. A secret they would seal in their very brush strokes. Did they smile when they thought of us? Just give me one answer, please!
As if they have something they want to say. You can almost step into that setting and make it your own. Almost. At least for a little while. For a little while, you can escape whatever troubles you are facing in the “real world.” The existence you may find yourself in that isn’t as refreshing or soothing. Where there may be real tears and real feelings of emptiness, and you just don’t know how to fix everything.
You feel as if you are water leaking from a broken faucet, and your life force is going down the drain with no hope of redemption. Yet art is there.