I used to think art was the expression of emotion. I thought you could spill your guts onto a canvas and be satisfied. But that idea limited me in many ways, and looking back, it was part of the reason why I didn’t create any art for years.
Now I realize art is the expression of ideas that convey emotion. Emotion without ideas is as flimsy as the paper on which I draw. I’m speaking of all arts except music- it seems as though music is an idea that’s reproduced as pure emotion. It hits your ears and causes an emotional reaction before you can even think about it.
So, art is the expression of ideas; but what kind of ideas and why? I create art for two main purposes- to represent an abstract idea, or to tell a story about myself. I’ve created art that displays the evils of collectivism and its benevolent façade:
But, I’ve also created art that simply implies a personal experience, like my very frightening camping experience in Texas:
“Art is a selective recreation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments… By a selective recreation, art isolates and integrates those aspects of reality which represent man’s fundamental view of himself and of existence… Art brings man’s concepts to the perceptual level of his consciousness and allows him to grasp them directly, as if they were percepts.”
– Ayn Rand on art
Based on your values- whether conscious of them or not- you will create art that reflects those values. Rand uses the example of two statues of man- one is the statue of a Greek God, and the other is the “deformed Medieval monstrosity”, both reflect the artist’s values and beliefs about man’s nature. The last part of the quote is the part that I relate to the most; by creating art, I’m able to manifest my ideas in reality, outside of my own head.
I am an introvert, and I have a very busy mind. It’s as if the belly of my mind consumes too much, and must purge the information. I used to keep it all in- which drove me mad, if you could imagine- but now I create art. I paint, I draw, and I write. Those are my avenues of release.
The ability to transform my inner ideas into something I can hold, look at, and show others is a tremendously rewarding experience. And since I’m just starting out creating art again, every time a piece of art comes out of my head and onto a canvas, or a piece of paper, I’m amazed that I was the one who actually created it.
My art is very personal to me, but I also hope to influence others with my work. By transmitting my ideas via a work of art, I hope that I can convey them in a digestible way for others, and perhaps motivate them to think about the ideas that I’m presenting.
Why is the man wearing a flowery mask? The man looks like a dictator, why is the piece then titled “collectivist”? What is collectivism and why does the artist portray it in such a dark manner?
Those are the questions I hope the viewers may ask themselves, if they don’t already know the answers.
Art is important- for the artist himself and for the viewers of it. It is the way in which strangers can communicate with each other on a personal level, without jargon, academia, or judgments of political faction.
Art is important for me to express myself and remain a somewhat sane human being. It also allows me to communicate my ideas and selectively express myself to others. What does it mean for you? As an artist or a consumer?
[Originally published on American Individual]