“Straight away the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, and not only do I see distinct themes in my mind’s eye, but they are clothed in the right forms, harmonies, and orchestration.” – Johannes Brahms
Art is a piece of painting hung up on the wall. Is this only the definition of Art? When referring to art, this way, it is and will always be a misconception. “I love art’’ or, ‘’there is an art exhibition” are phrases that are still being used to refer to art mostly as any painting, drawing, or sketch, which has been framed up and can be hung on the wall or placed within the surroundings for admiration.
The question is: would you see a woodwork or food show being grouped as an art exhibition? If we were to take a deep dive into our minds, we already suspect the answer is no. And why is this so? Well, one can say this is because not everyone deeply understands what art depicts. Moreso, the quote above by Johannes Brahms (German composer) suggests that any idea that our minds can conceive, give form to and express might as well be classified as Art.
What is Art?
We define art as any work that is an expression of human creative thinking. As a result, art stretches across and touches every facet of life such as language, food, fashion, and painting, among others. Any work of art is produced to depict the unique skills of the creator and to also give the aesthete something of value to appreciate. So, while paintings are fantastic and are still a way of depicting creativity, art should not be limited to just that. Art is LIFE.
Worthy of mention are the classifications of Art which should not be confused with the different forms or ways in which art is being interpreted. Art can be classified under the following:
1. Visual Art (Decorative & Fine Art): This is a form of creative art whose products are appreciated by sight. Examples will include sculptures, paintings, and drawings.
2. Literary Art: This is also a form of creative art that involves writing and captures beauty in speech as well as displays some cultural significance.
3. Performing Art: This is equally a field of creative art that entails displaying to an audience such as drama, music or dance.
As all-encompassing as art has become, the subject of the importance of art becomes an essential discussion point. According to Joseph Beuys, “Art that cannot shape society and therefore also cannot penetrate the heart questions of society, and in the end, influence the question of capital, is no art.” In this regard, we can begin to ask the following questions: why do we need art? How do artistic works benefit the aesthete? What gains or pleasures are in it for the creator of art? And finally, how effectively can art be utilized in society?
For the creator
Art as a Means of Income
With the rising demand and appreciation of various works of art, producing art and placing it on the market for sale has become a lucrative business for professional artists. For them, this is a talent that must be rewarded. Most professional artists today can either put up their work for auction, therefore sell to the highest bidder or display them for sale during an exhibition.
Art as a Way of Expressing Personal Style
Personality is what makes us as humans unique and different in several ways. Art over the years has become a means of expressing one’s personal style. This can be done in the form of dressing, and portraying individuality. “She is an art” is an expression that was borne out of a person’s individual qualities that make them unique, therefore portraying their style of living as an art.
Art as a Means of Communication
Communication is the art of expressing ideas and feelings in such a way that they can be understood by the audience. It is therefore safe to say that art is used to educate, teach and inform diverse publics.
Art as a Means of Intellectual Development
Everyone’s intellectual capacity can be expanded through art. For writers or anyone who engages in critical thinking, the art of writing can help to develop and enhance their intellectual skills thereby making them more competitive and in demand.
Art as a Hobby
Many people engage in different activities that help to improve their lives. Turning to art as a hobby can be beneficial in many ways. Some of these artistic pastimes may include drawing, painting, sculpture or even writing.
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To the aesthete/public
Art for Leisure & Entertainment
The importance of engaging in leisure activities from time to time cannot be over-emphasized. This is where art, again, comes in handy. Many people use art as a form of entertainment or for relaxation. Visiting art exhibitions/galleries, musicals, movies or stage plays are all artistic forms that can be utilized for the purpose of entertainment.
To the art collector or patron
Art for Cultural Heritage & Preservation
Artworks are often collected and kept for the purpose of cultural and heritage preservation. They often serve as an identification symbol of a society or people, thus playing a very useful role to humanity.
One can say, we all are unwittingly art collectors, in a way. It is not only what we deem as beautiful or expensive artwork that can be preserved. The art of preserving anything that has a unique or emotional value to us can be referred to as an art collection. Think of a father who receives a hand-made and improvised birthday card from his four-year-old daughter. Certainly, a lot of emotions will be packed into that card. Such a father might want to preserve the card, for obvious reasons. To him, the card has become something worthy of preserving. Again, what about the first love letter someone receives from the person they truly love? That is another item worth keeping. Should we also mention the many beautiful wedding dresses that are kept by ladies for future generations to see? This is just to mention a few.
Art as a Form of Investment
Finally, those who want to make money, good money, from Art they may invest in buying unique art pieces to be sold later when the value appreciates. Some may even acquire pieces from renowned artists and sell them a decade later at higher prices. I believe this is worth considering by the shrewd investor.
Tracing the lines and joining the dots to discover the beauty that can be seen in everyday activities and objects is what can be termed Art Appreciation. Discovering beauty, and perhaps, the meaning in things for the purpose of admiration is the main purpose of Art.
With this, I invite you to visit the Coronation Art Gallery in Lagos, where you can indulge yourself in everything beautiful, which in this case are diverse kinds of contemporary African Art pieces. The Coronation Art Gallery is situated at 10, Amodu Ojikutu VI, Lagos.
No doubt, Art is Life, but I daresay, to spare some time for the appreciation of Art is to indulge in a form of luxury that gives real satisfaction. Please don’t miss that!