The Importance of Art

Whether you think of it as painting, collaging, sculpture, cake decorating or scrapbooking, art is a form of creative self-expression. It can also be a means of healing, according to research published in the “Art Therapy Journal.” The study found that people who make art have higher levels of psychological well-being and fewer depression symptoms than those who do not create. “Creativity in and of itself is important for remaining healthy, remaining connected to yourself and the world,” says Christianne Strang, professor of neuroscience at University of Alabama Birmingham and former president of the American Art Therapy Association.

While some artists consider their work to be pure, others use it as a medium for political or social commentary or even as a way of promoting their brand. Regardless of the artist’s intentions, the work should be meaningful to the audience and convey some type of emotion, thought or idea. The process of creating art can be therapeutic for the artist, who often experiences a sense of flow, or what the scientific community calls the “magic moment” that happens when you lose yourself in the activity and become completely immersed.

The earliest uses of the word art, as defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, were in reference to the skills used by artists (such as painters) to produce decorative works and fine art objects. In modern times, the term has expanded to encompass all forms of artistic expression.

Artwork is often associated with an art movement, a style that combines an aim or philosophy followed by artists for a period of time. A few of the more significant movements include impressionism, cubism and abstract expressionism.

As society evolved and artists lost the ability to depend on wealthy patrons for support, they developed a need to appeal to the general public. They reached this market through exhibitions in commercial galleries and art museums.

An art piece should be unique, and ideally reflect the artist’s technical abilities. However, many artistic movements, such as readymades and conceptual art, have dispelled this notion. For example, Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, which consists of an industrial-made urinal signed R. Mutt, is considered an artwork despite its lack of craftsmanship.

In order to understand the meaning of a work of art, it is important to know its history and context. For instance, if an artwork has text panels that say when and where it was created, this can help provide clues as to the significance of the work. Also, remember that art is a reflection of the culture in which it was made. It can be a springboard for understanding that which is, if you have the right tools.