We need but few “things” to truly live well in this world, and art is absolutely one of them. What makes it a need was discussed in our first post… and has been discussed and confirmed since probably the beginning of time! So, we need it— but what exactly is it that we need? What is art?
Who hasn’t experienced loving something— anything created—without knowing why? Whatever that something is— that is art.
Maybe it’s a painting. A painting that, even if you think might actually be less than objectively beautiful, you love. A painting of which you seem to be the only admirer of at the show. Or, maybe, it’s the featured artwork, beloved by all. Whichever, no matter— you love the art. You can’t understand why, but you do. There is just “something about it.” And that is alright— because, as Claude Monet fittingly said: “everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand— as if it were necessary to understand— when it is simply necessary to love.” Art fulfills in us an intrinsic need, expressed as love; anything and everything that fulfills that need in us is art.
The soft sunlight shining through our windows at the break of dawn? That is art. That gesture of kindness, which presumably (but not actually) goes unseen? That is art. The giggles of young children as they run around? That is art. A growing strawberry, maturing from a bright chartreuse to a deep red; a pink peony, it's fragrance more noticeable than its petals; the sun setting, its glowing orange-magenta color slowly sinking until it disappears; this is all art, too. They all fulfill that need. And it is this art that inspires us to create. They inspire us to create what is, perhaps, more readily considered “art.”
This art— whether a painting, a sculpture, a musical composition, a drama performance, etc.— captures a feeling. It is relatable, because it reflects the inspirations we all share. It is this, maybe, which separates “good art” from “bad art.” It is also why we are each tugged towards certain pieces and not others. These pieces speak to something within us, even if this “something” is beyond our understanding.
If art fulfills in us a need, and if certain art speaks to us, shouldn’t we listen honestly to what it is trying to tell us? Because isn’t it telling us what we need? And as Claude alluded to— we needn’t try to understand the art itself, but rather, perhaps, simply become aware of the relationships between art and ourselves; as Leonardo da Vinci shared, “learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”