At times I've felt guilty about being an artist. I believe in meaning and I want to make a difference. I've wondered if I am actually making a difference, and if so, how? As you probably already know, I've tried with my previous careers (animal scientist and veterinarian), only to end up disillusioned. Being a vet - 'saving animals and helping people with their pets' - but the reality was all too often different - euthanizing animals, especially unwanted kittens post-Christmas and poorly socialised young dogs, combined with the pressure to get through a quota of appointments and surgeries made it not particularly meaningful for me. 'Solving world hunger' as an animal scientist was more like using creative writing to abate the constant threat of losing funding and dealing with bureaucracy and corporate politics didn't help.
So back to being an artist... I love my work, I love creating and at some level, despite the odd nagging doubt, I've always known it's meaningful so I came up with a mission to find out and really clarify for myself why art, and by inference artists and art appreciators are important. So my sincere thanks to my family, friends, clients, and whoever else was willing to answer my questions as to why art is important. Here's a somewhat shortened and summarized list of what they had to say:
Art is important because:
* It makes/helps us feel
* It encourages reflection and meditation
* It's something we connect with
* It's an expression of ourselves
* It decorates the walls and our homes are empty without it
* It's a future investment
* It encourages us to appreciate beauty
* It brings 'soul' into our house
* It's a reflection of our traditions, beliefs, values and lifestyle (from a historic perspective cultures were studied by the art that was produced)
* It reflects our humanity back to us
*We just love it and couldn't to it ourselves!
So what I've learned from this exercise is: art is important because it is a barrier-free and deep (often unconscious and deeply spiritual) form of communication. It crosses time, age, class, race, sex and language barriers. It is uniquely human - created from the imagination of the artist to be appreciated by those that connect with it's messages and who then use it as an expression of themselves. Art is NEVER without meaning, and always leaves an impression whether we (or the artist) fully understand or even know the artists original intention!...
Namaste and Best Wishes