On Finding Beauty
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that we live in a crazy and mixed up world. The news is increasingly bad (no matter which side of politics you find yourself) and no matter how much I try to unplug from it that unpleasant news keeps finding a way to my ear and into my head. As I’ve struggled with finding a way to keep it from weighing on my heart I’ve been thinking about the importance of art. As an artist, what can I share with the world that could possibly make a difference?
My instagram feed tells me that many of my fellow artists are asking themselves this same question. Many see their art as a platform for political and social commentary, a way of provoking sharp emotions or to plead for empathy on various social causes. While I understand the motivation for this way of thinking, I disagree with it. I’ve come to the conclusion that the true calling of the artist is to create something of beauty.
Merriam Webster defines beauty as “the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit” (emphasis is mine). In other words, beauty connects us to our very humanity and makes us reach for something better within. Beauty stimulates our intellect, our senses and our imagination. It can heal our brokenness and give us hope.
And so it follows that art which exalts the beautiful can do all of this too. Instead of tearing people down, art can lift them up. Instead of agitating the emotions, art can produce a sense of well-being. Art can remind of us of what it means to be human, and stir the spirit that dwells within all of us. Art can and should be a vehicle to help heal a broken world.
And so this is my artist manifesto: to look beyond the daily noise of current events and see all that is lovely, quiet, and pure. To focus on the happiness that is all around me. To keep producing art that communicates the beautiful. To send that art out into the world so it can be a blessing to others.
I hope that when you see it, it inspires you…