I just read a post on one of my favourite blogs about the state of the art buyer and the art world. (Visit Linda’s Blog) It got me to thinking about art how or why some of us become artists and why some appreciate – or do not appreciate – the arts.
It seems that every time thought and economy change, so does art. I do not mean the natural swings of economy, I mean the foundations. The paradigm shifts in power and philosophy from farmer to industry, from medieval to renaissance, from industry to? Art got mass marketed soon after our lives did. Art is always a reflection of culture and is inextricable from its times.
However, people are people. I think that we, essentially, change less than our ideas. There are the workers, the thinkers, the creators, the innovators and the pioneers. As much as society can change, I am not sure we change who we are. We can learn to better manage ourselves and learn a skill, but, what makes us effective to act in line with our natures. In the case of an artist, a writer, an actor, designer, etc… we are creators. We may come to the act of creating from many different directions – some are inspired, others are obsessive; some are dark and create from the shadows and others are eternal optimists. Some are both depending on the day. We are essentially a communicative species and we have created many ways to share our knowledge, besides language itself.
The idea that we have an ancestral memory may not be as far fetched as many think and not quite as literal as a library or computer memory bank as some thinkers try to describe it. We are the sum of generations of people and their genetic memory is in us. Some things are by chance and others by calculation, but, ultimately, we are likely to behave in the way we are hardwired – giving reason for everyone seeing something a little differently. Relativity isn’t just physics. The very nature of the universe and the passage of time is relative to those who observe. No person will see it the same way.
In the earliest times of human existence, art found a way into our lives. The significance of the art is direct to those to whom it belonged. To others it is a book of mysteries to be decoded. The shaman of ancient peoples saw things in a way different from others in their community and some painted their visions of the walls of caves. Others created great buildings with symbols and faces carved into their walls and pillar. Some painted the mysteries of God – some with representational images of animals and people, others with their strict absence. Looking up at the ceilings of a gothic cathedral is almost like looking into the canopy of an ancient forest.
One can say the writing of language is an art form, to the Asians, particularly the Chinese it is an art form. The characters emerged from pictograms. Art to the Chinese is not a separate set of activities. Each art form relates to another and is a part of the practice. Writing is art, intellect and performance.
So with that in mind, is art is simply communication? It is not an entity in itself nor should it be simply the secrets of the unconscious mind of one person, although, I am not sure that can every really be the case.
There is art in communication even today, in the devices that deliver it and in the design of the words themselves. Painting has been with us since the beginning of human history, as has dance, music and storytelling. I am not sure we can ever lose them, just perhaps, in their current forms. The meaning and the drive to create has not essentially changed, just what might motivate the creator and the means by which they create. I don’t think that the Arts can ever die, because if they do, that is when we cease to be human.