What is the value of Art?
“Why Art?…What value is there in drawing?…Why not pursue a career like Medicine…or Law…maybe Engineering?…You just want to draw for the rest of your life?”
Those are questions that are beyond valid to ask, especially if you are not very familiar with the craft or the reason why it is so important not only to the artists that create the pieces, but to those that come into contact with them as well. You see, art is a reflection of the world that we live in. It is a mirror to the society that we either suffer or thrive in. It allows us to first interact with the work as a spectator from the outside looking in and finally, the longer we observe the image and understand the meaning behind it, the more we relate it to our own experiences and realize that we are who we see in those works of art.
Art is in the paintings and photographs we see, the music we hear, the books, magazines and newspapers we read, the products we buy, the TV shows that we watch, the clothes we wear…it is everywhere. To rid the world of art would be to strip it of life as we have known it. Art teaches us to be more empathetic when we see the pain and struggle that people like us face daily. It allows us to take a moment and view life from the perspective of someone else and understand their experience of life a lot better. Art allows us to better articulate the stories that we want to tell without the barrier of language or literacy standing in the way. Many times, it speaks where words may fail and does so 10,000 times louder. In addition, it doesn’t matter what your religion, race, gender, age, heritage or economic status is. Art is universal and each person is able to derive meaning from what they see based off of how that work impacts them as an individual.
In my own life, I have seen art break down the walls of racism and bring people together, building strong bonds and friendship. As a young child, I encountered harsh racism at my kindergarten and felt incredibly isolated, being the only black child in my class. I spent a lot of time on my own during that period and the one thing that brought me joy and happiness was creating art. After school, I would rush home and immediately pull out my art supplies and draw cartoon characters from the Disney movies I loved watching.
Before I knew it, this became a daily habit and eventually, the teachers and students began discovering the talent I never really knew I had and their intrigue with my work somehow made them more inquisitive about me as a person. Before long, I had a bunch of friends whom I could sit in class with, have lunch with and play with and race was no longer a wall that separated us from one another. We finally realized that we are all people with something unique and beautiful to offer to the world and for me, that unique thing has been art.
You have a story to tell. About the triumphs and challenges you have faced in this life. The ups and downs. The highs and lows. You may even feel that the story you have is one worth telling that can be able to impact people in your household, your community, your country or even the world at large. Express it. We were born to be expressive beings and using art is an endearing way to show the world who you are and what it has made you become. I hope that if this website does nothing else for you, that it will at least give you that nudge you need to put your stressful work aside, put your gadgets away and take a moment to appreciate the art around you which truly is the world that you are living in.