Column is a monthly feature that explores the world
of creativity and aesthetics.
The Purpose of Art
de Sousa, Director, AbleStable
In general I tend to steer away from using the
term 'art' or 'artist' in favour of 'creative',
'creative product'. The very
word 'art' brings
with it the baggage of preconception, prejudice,
and intellectual snobbery. That said, next to my
love of people, comes my love of art :)
writing this column I
was tempted to make reference to others who
had pondered on the purpose of art. This however
goes against my general aim which is to make
what I write as accessible as possible. I hope
anyone reading my words can follow
train of thought without the need to know of
certain authors, or ideas, or of arguments
that have come before. This to me seems to
to be the most democratic and inclusive approach,
and both those principles lie at the heart of
my creative work.
aim, and the kind of art I like best, is when
something complex is communicated simply. Most
often I come nowhere close...
definition of 'art' that is most meaningful
Art: The products of human
creative activity which often
hold special significance.
would argue that all creative human endeavors,
excluding actions directly
related to survival and reproduction, is art
of one kind or another. I however view this as too
broad a definition. We are all creative, but
we do not all produce art.
day, we create new combinations of words in our
need to connect our world with others. The
sentences we utter are often creative in as much
as they are responding to a particular person,
group, or context in a new(ish) way,
but they do not constitute
art in my opinion.
tread the exact same paths as we speak and
act in the
world, and the more
we move away from our comfortable surroundings
habit and repetition, the more we become
explorers on our journey of realizing our creative
Need for Art
believe the production of good art requires right effort (perhaps a theme that
demands a column of its own), talent, and persistence. Talent being the most
over-rated of these three. Art, like anything of value, requires effort to unlock
its gifts. The more we put in, the more we get out.
seem three core motivations for producing
art. Our need to:
our ego or leave some stamp of ourselves
on the world
motivates, affects, or enriches others
seem three entirely different reasons why
transcends the ordinary and inspires
transforms us and can easily make us
feel as much a general of a great
army, as a child in jeopardy
touches on all the qualities that lay between
great beauty and ugliness
delights the senses and invites us to
experience our most cherished hopes, and most
fearful dreams. All at a distance, and without
risk. Art, like dreaming, is a vital human activity
that helps us understand and play out our place
in the world. By so doing, we survive better.
and music lay at either ends of the spectrum
we call art.
Literature requires grammar and a shared lexicon
to function. Music
a willingness to listen and no more. Literature's
constant companion is meaning.
In contrast, music has no meaning, it is simply organized
sound. Music may support a text with meaning,
but of itself, it is an abstract, beautiful art.
the purpose of literature is very different
to that of thinking about the purpose of music.
Literature connects because it speaks eloquently
us. It is political in nature because it carries
meaning. Music, in contrast, stirs the heart and
stimulates the mind with sound patterns, form,
visual arts and dance seem to come someway
between the two.
the purpose of art is constructive if somewhat
perplexing. The more we think carefully about
medium of expression, the more we
become capable of exploiting its power and potential.
uncovering the nature of art and
the reasons we have developed certain abilities
to produce art, we come to know
and understand others more. For me, the purpose
of creating art is clear: I create to connect,
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