We are all affected by art. An article written by Author Schlesinger Jr. for The New York Times quotes General George Washington as saying, “The Arts and Sciences essential to the prosperity of the State and to the ornament and happiness of human life have a primary claim to the encouragement of every lover of his Country and mankind.” In other words, where would our country – or the world – be without art?

Art has, directly and indirectly, had the following influences on our lives:

  • It makes our lives enjoyable as human beings.
  • It moves us. It allows us to express ourselves.
  • It helps us to relieve stress.
  • It makes us laugh.
  • It makes us cry.
  • It helps us create and share moments with people we care about.
  • It adds that little touch of something that’s missing in our lives.

Since art has such far-reaching effects, we can conclude that it personally touches each one of our lives. But do we make it personal?

“Understanding” Art

Many people feel that enjoying art is beyond their cognitive abilities. One look at a painting and they immediately say “I don’t get it.” This puts them off, making them think that they can’t appreciate sculptures, paintings and other forms of art.

Paul Biddle Surrealist Photography British-Food

This is simply not true. Art touches everyone differently. The truth is that no one has the exact same understanding of a piece of art as someone else. It’s like a thumb print: each one is unique. In fact, your understanding of art is based on how it makes you feel.

Let’s suppose you’re looking at a painting of a woman hanging clothes out to dry. The artist tells you that his art has subtle hidden messages. But what that hidden message is to you may not be the same message to another person. You may see something about the failings of society in that painting. Another person may see the strength of women as a gender. A third person may not see a message at all, but may still admire the painting for the colors and technique the artist used. A fourth person may feel sorry for the woman because she’s at home doing chores, and not at work enjoying a career.

None of these people are wrong in their understanding of the painting. They all drew their own conclusions based on what they saw and what the painting made them feel. Each piece of art is just like this: it offers a unique experience for every individual.

Expanding Your Boundaries

Art isn’t just limited to paintings or statues. Anything can be perceived as art, so long at it was made using a form of artistic media. It doesn’t have to be traditional either. Some people perceive graffiti to be art. Furniture and fixtures can be art as well, including some of the fine art lamps US supplier Cocoweb has to offer. We can also include wall decals, creative bookshelves and even artistically designed staircases.

You can make art personal for you by asking how something makes you feel. For example, you likely have several pictures hanging around your home. Why did you buy them? How do they make you feel when you look at them? What do they do for the room they are in?

You can do this with anything decorative in or around your home. Look at everything as a piece of art, even if it doesn’t seem like it is. Those little gnomes you have in your front lawn, that waterfall that’s part of your landscaping, the wreath on your front door, your coffee table book – that’s all art. It’s not traditional by any means but it’s still a way of expressing yourself.

That’s what General George Washington meant by his statement. We would never be able to freely express ourselves, evolve as a society – or a country – without art.

Next time you see a piece of art that makes you feel anything, thank the artist. Their little contribution helped you to appreciate art on a personal level, and it helped to make the world a better place.

Photo by Paul Biddle