“Dad, why do we need art?”Posted: May 2, 2013
Wow, your questions are getting harder and harder. But I like it…
Let’s think about what art is and how it is created.
An artist selects a subject that he wants to focus on, be it a subject for a painting, a melody, a theme for a book or a movie, and so on. Why do you think the artist needs to select that subject?
What do you mean? The book or the painting has to be about something.
Exactly. The first thing an artists does is isolate some aspects of reality and focuses his art on them. That selection shows us what is important for the artist. It might be the beauty of a human body, nature, some idea like the movie we just saw – remember “The Help”? What was it about?
About equal human rights for black people.
Now, what is so special about art is that it shows us those ideas and values in a real sculpture, painting, music or a story. it allows us to directly experience the most important thing in life – VALUES.
It is like FOOD FOR OUR MIND. Our mind, that lives on concepts and ideas.
It needs to visualize those values in reality and see them successfully implemented. This is why animals do not need art as they are not conceptual beings.
Now, this is also why we react to art in such a profound way. We “sense” and “feel” art. We laugh, cry, or are deeply moved. We either admire it or despise it.
So every piece of art represents a value?
Yes, if it is a piece of good art. There is some things out there under the category of “modern art” that does not qualify in my view as art. Like smears of paint on canvas that no one can interpret – that’s not art.
Bad art can also leave us indifferent because it does not represent any important value to us.
You see, art is so important because we have to stop from time to time and look at how values are being implemented in life through a story, a painting, a piece of music that invokes a specific sense of life in us. If shows us that those values are real, achievable and possible. It fuels us to move on and deal with life.
So it is like a mirror?
That’s an amazing way to put it kid. It is a mirror to life and its possibilities. It shows us ideals.
So why do some people like horror movies and violence?
Because they hold a specific view of the world. The kind of art a person responds to, is a great way to learn about his set of values.
So why do you like Jazz music?
Because it shows me how sophisticated, masterful and creative one can be if he invests the required mental effort. But I also like rock music that shows me how energetic, joyful and fun life can be.
What do you think about the picture I bought you?
I love it. It shows me what small ,simple ideas can lead to.
Do you remember the picture I have in my study room?
Yes. With the woman getting dressed.
She is actually fixing her hair, but you’re right, she is getting ready for the day. Why do you think I like it so much?
I don’t know.
When I look at that woman getting ready for the day, fixing here hair in an effective, diligent, beautiful yet simple way, my sense of life responds immediately and I get a sense of purpose, it makes me look forward to the future in conviction that it is wonderful to be alive and that I should look forward to live another joyful day.
All of that from a woman fixing her hair?
Okay. You know it looks a little like mom.
Yes I know. Think about what that means.
Let’s talk about that some other time.
Does it mean you love mom?
Yes. I love your mom very very much. And I love you too. Now go to sleep, its late.
Good night dad.
Good night kiddo.