Art As Expression, Part II: Conversation vs. Controversy

January 28, 2009 at 7:21 pm (2008)

Van Gogh's Starry Night (Flickr)

Jumping off from yesterday’s post, I’ve only recently become aware of just how important art and creative expression is to me, and just how much a part of me it always has been. Yet, I’ve really only now just realized why that is, for what it can provide.

Art, in general, not only evokes inspiration and an appreciation of beauty, but it stirs emotion and sparks conversation that either allows you to look at the piece from a different perspective or further cement your opinions and defend your viewpoint.

When I was in college, this was my favorite part of studying literature. What you take with you going into a book is just as important as what you get out of reading it. It seems that every reader has a different opinion or viewpoint based on their own experiences, and each opinion is just as valid as the one before (so long as you have reasoning to back it up).

In poetry, there are multiple interpretations of a single stanza, though the words are exactly the same and read by millions. In music, someone might be moved to tears while others might quickly skip to the next song. In art, one might see stars while another might see war.

My own tastes are rather broad. In music, I like everything ranging from rock to classical. In art, I favor everything from Renaissance Art to the Impressionists to Art Deco (Tamara De Lempicka) to Pop Art (Roy Lichtenstein). Much like music and books – if I like it, I like it; I have my own opinions and I’m not afraid to voice them.

But not everyone does.

People are often hesitant to express themselves and their tastes for fear of creating controversy, yet that is precisely why the world of art, in general, is so fascinating, so exciting. Creative expression is individualistic; having different viewpoints and interpretations sparks conversation and debate.

To me, art is just as much about that conversation, connecting with others and transforming your views, as it is about the appreciation of beauty.

What does art mean to you?

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2 Comments

  1. Ryan said,

    Inspiration on an individual level is legitimate, and valid. Great things have come of that. But what fascinates me most is the life art takes when it’s absorbed into interpersonal and cultural interaction.

    Ultimately, I think that COMPELLING art (in whatever form it takes) actually inspires interaction with other people… which is what it’s really all about…

  2. twentyorsomething said,

    Ryan,

    First, it was great to meet you a few weeks ago, and I look forward to connecting with you on Twitter!

    Thanks for your comment — I’m intrigued by the idea of art and cultural interaction. I think that art is very individualistic in the opinions and emotions that it evokes, but what’s important as well is how that is communicated to others, which perhaps is what makes it interpersonal. I like how you say that art inspires interaction because that might be part of its purpose — it’s a link to establishing a connection, bringing forth conversation.

    I’ll definitely have to think about your comments and look forward to looking into the ideas of art and communication some more! Thanks for your thoughts! – Susan

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