The Purpose of Art – Day 24

[Today’s featured artwork for Day 24 of the 365 Days Project is by Brad Stroman.]

Painting of a sunflower by Brad Stroman
“Sun Down” by Brad Stroman. Photo courtesy ©Brad Stroman.

Is art necessary? What is an artist’s purpose in today’s society?

#24 – Art reveals its value to those who take the time to appreciate it.

The question of the purpose and value of an artist in today’s society comes up quite often. A colleague once asked me bluntly if I thought art was necessary. “Yes, of course,” I replied without hesitation. I knew it was vital for me, as an artist, but at the time I couldn’t articulate why it would be necessary for anyone else.

It took years of exhibitions and discussions with visitors at art openings to understand that the purpose of art for the viewer can be many things, depending on the artist – and the viewer. There are many works of art that make us aware of the challenges of humanity. Other work provides healing. Some take us beyond the physical object to show its essence, rather than simply regarding the exterior. Still others challenge our perceptions so we can see the world in a different way.

As I looked within for my own purpose as an artist, I realized that what I have to offer others is inspiration. A sculpture or a painting, in and of itself, won’t feed the homeless, but it can provide the inspiration for others to do so. Through our work, we can share how we find beauty in all things or we might open up minds to different perspectives. We can take people out of the everyday world, if only for a moment, and perhaps offer creative alternatives to understanding the intricacies of life. Not because we have all the answers, but because we have spent a lot of time asking questions.

The gift art has to offer the world is not obvious because it’s rarely a tangible one. Our voice is subtle, but it is often more powerful than we could ever imagine.

“We live in a fractured world. I’ve always seen it as my role as an artist to attempt to make wholeness.”
Anish Kapoor

“There are two distinct languages. There is the verbal, which separates people… and there is the visual that is understood by everybody.”
Yaacov Agam

“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
Pablo Picasso

“The aim of art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.”

“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been hidden by the answers.”
James Baldwin

“The highest purpose of art is to inspire. What else can you do for anyone but inspire them?”
Bob Dylan

“The purpose of art is nothing less than the uplifting of the human spirit.”
Pope John Paul II

SerenaK signature

Painting of red leaves by Brad Stroman
“Red Tears” by Brad Stroman. Photo courtesy ©Brad Stroman.

Brad Stroman’s artwork can be viewed at Brad Stroman.

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The 365 Days Project

In 2012, Serena Kovalosky committed to writing an article a day for 365 days as an exploration into the lives of artists and the value of creative thinking in our society.

Experience the full evolution of the project! Click below to read the entire collection of articles.

Click to view The 365 Days Project

Descriptions of the images included in this post:

Sun Down
Brad Stroman, North Carolina, USA
Acrylic on masonite board

Red Tears
Brad Stroman, North Carolina, USA
Acrylic on masonite board

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