Creative human expression and its place in society

We often encounter art in diverse ways. Our physical encounters with objects of art take place in our surroundings. It could be in a museum, an art gallery, or even in historical places or monuments of national heritage. Our current exposure to electronic media has propelled the frequency of our skirmishes with art. We may now view paintings, sculptures or other works of art via social media on a laptop or mobile phone. Social media platforms like Instagram have paved the way for artists to express themselves globally by sharing their works with wider audiences. But, the question we must ask is, “How is art viewed by these audiences? What are the individual perceptions of those people who have experienced the work of art?”

Comprehending abstract art is difficult for many people

Different strokes, different views

Individual perceptions of art are very diverse and are accessed and seen differently by people. It is also important to note that there are myriad viewpoints as to what can be construed as art. For example, stamps and coins are often viewed as mediums of monetization for utility services. However, they hold great value and appreciation amongst philatelists, numismatists and art aficionados. Likewise, abstract art is often misunderstood by our society. The old adage – “One man’s pleasure is another man’s poison”, rings true.

Indeed, the appreciation of art is highly subjective and different aspects contribute to different levels of aesthetic criteria. Dance, music, fine art, commercial art all use different skills and expression. They all influence opinions within society and translate different experiences using space and time. In many ways, art can be considered a medium of communication. We have witnessed several instances of people from different cultures and different chronological periods communicating with us through fables and images. Our own culture in India is awash with these and every child who grows up in this country records these experiences and influences within his/her mind.

Our brains receive a neural rush when confronted with visual stimuli

Society’s interaction with art

Is art a process or a product? For want of a definition, let us simply state that art is both. It can be defined as both the process and product that is derived from the act of deliberately arranging elements in a manner that appeals to human senses and emotions. Literature, film, music and a wide variety of art forms can be included in this domain.

Scientific research tells us that art affects the individual at a fundamental level. Medical researchers have always been keen to know the impact of art on the human brain. In 2019, a study conducted by the University of Newcastle found that contemporary visual arts created a positive impact on senior citizens, especially those who are homebound. A positive correlation has also been established between the math, science and literacy grades of school-going children and their participation in learning drama or a new musical instrument. Art and artists have and always will be a part of our society. Today, there are several people involved in the creation of art who are professionally employed in our society. We have a continuous engagement with these people and their works in real-time. The National Art Education Association in the US conducts volumes of societal research about art and its interactions with society. A recent study conducted by them found that the social and emotional well-being of students is intrinsically linked to their exposure to art-based activities, irrespective of whether that learning is online, or in person. Clearly, artists within our community contribute to the vigour, colour and vibrancy of our society, making a deep impact on our personalities.

How do people connect with art?

When we come face-to-face with a work of art, it connects with us and we connect with its creator. Whether it’s the words of a song or visual art, there’s always that special moment when art touches us. It links with our emotions and we can identify a feeling that is special to us. At that moment, we are able to visualise the same feelings within the composer, filmmaker or painter. Today, modern brain imaging and neuroscience has given birth to a special field of study called neuro-aesthetics. This is the study of what happens to our brain when we experience art.

Our brains experience a ‘neural rush’ when confronted with vivid visual imagery, colour, movement, sometimes coupled with an auditory sensation. We are attracted to this stimuli and it creates strong impressions within our body and mind. Of course, as discussed earlier, these sensations are extremely personal and subjective. This is what makes the whole thing unique. Each of us will experience different impressions when exposed to the same stimuli. These experiences may not be completely different from each other but will retain a certain amount of exclusivity or uniqueness for each person.

The advent of digital art

In many respects, digital art has leapfrogged into everyone’s lives at a breakneck pace. Traditional art has taken thousands of years to develop as humans experientially learned the techniques that contributed to its evolution. On the other hand, digital tools have already allowed an entire generation to expand their creativity in unprecedented ways. Many believe that the progress we have made in computer hardware and software has been largely responsible for this wonderful journey. Many believe that technology acts as a catalyst in a creative explosion within the mind that stimulates the individual to stretch the boundaries of imagination in ways that traditional art forms were not capable of. Of course, the pundits rebut that it’s impossible to reproduce a10x10 canvas on a computer screen. Getting up close to paintings in an art gallery reveals beautiful, intense patterns within the canvas. However, these aren’t visible on a digital monitor. Digital technology has permeated into every arena of art, including films, music, photography and painting. At the current moment, digital art is in its infancy and the years ahead will reveal the true extent of its possibilities.

In conclusion

Creative human expressions have been around as long as humanity itself. From the paintings of ancient cave dwellers to the detailed vivid imagery of computer-generated graphics, the pursuit of art has come a long way. At Artyfacts, we celebrate this fabulous journey every day. So, if you want to discover the creativity in you, or improve your skills, or you simply believe that participation in art can help you de-stress, call us on 98907 54772, or simply drop us an email. Together, we can embark on a journey that’s sure to be mutually fascinating.

Image credits: David Rock Design, towardsai

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