Why do we need art in our lives?
Why do people go and look at art? What are they up to? Why are they staring at all these famous pieces of art in museums and art galleries? Why are these famous paintings worth millions of pounds? Well the answer is we don’t really know. These “sacred” paintings become shrines.
The reason is that the “unknown” shines through in partially articulated form.
That’s the role of real art; that’s the role of artists. Real artists are inspired by the mystery of the unknown. They contend with the unknown. They are drawn to it. They can’t help it. That is because real artists have a personality trait that predisposes them to “openness”.
Openness is one of the five personality traits of the Big Five personality theory. It indicates how open-minded a person is. A person with a high level of openness to experience in a personality test enjoys trying new things. They are imaginative, curious, and open-minded.
Creative people just die if they can’t be creative. They have no vitality. They are cursed with having to try to make sense of things and cursed with having to make a living at that which is almost impossible – it’s more or less impossible to monetise creative action.
Creative action though, is not without VALUE. Creative people, by their very personality, are entrepreneurs. They revitalise cities, they make things beautiful and magnificent. Just think of the collaborations in Europe over the past 2000 years to make beautiful things.
For example Barcelona’s Cathedral Sagrada Familia will possibly be finished in 2026 which is 144 years since its beginning. Imagine the vision of a work of art put into practice with timespan of 1 ½ centuries. These days town planning usually has a maximum of two year timescale. The beauty of Barcelona’s Cathedral will continue to be in enhanced over the decades and centuries to come as it’s form and beauty grow with time. Cathedrals are a prime example of Divinity expressed through beauty
Beauty is crucial to economic development. You can see this in tourism. Why do tourists flock to Barcelona, why do they flock to see other important architectural sites of beauty, museums and art galleries? Why do they go to places for theatre and dance productions, music and film? Because they are drawn to beauty. So of course we need to encourage the expression of beauty through the arts.
We do need to keep justifying the value of art to make people understand. We need people to understand that art is vital. Without beauty there is no call to higher being.
It’s hard to make a thing of beauty but it’s worthwhile. Everyone should strive to make a something beautiful even if it’s just one thing. Be daring, be colourful, make something beautiful. Generally people are scared of it. They buy beige, boring, upholstery- matching art for their walls at home from furniture shops! You can express beauty in your garden, in something stitched, in painting your furniture!
Buy art from an artist. It opens your eyes to the beauty of the transcendent. Beauty is a pathway to transcendence. We live fully by beauty.
Life is too dull and tragic in the absence of the sublime.
An invitation to my next exhibition in April is over on the Exhibitions page.