What’s the Point of Art?

Often I see people becoming intimidated with the subject of art, especially visual arts like painting and sculpture. And the ones that are not intimidated just don’t care enough to stop and look at paintings, or walk into a gallery. Which is quite weird to me because people more easily can listen to a song, and decide if it speaks to them or not, and don’t have to think about if they like it or not. We just easily like a song or not, we easily like certain styles and singers, and that’s it.

Or movies for instance, people just watch them, go into a theater easily, and they decide if they like it or not quite easily as well. But when it comes to painting, which is my discipline, most people don’t know what to do with art in that sense. And I can see that it mostly has to do with what passes for “art” these days. Everyone has the freedom now to express whatever they feel like if they want to, or represent themselves and their work however they feel like. Mysterious, deep, experimental, shocking, philosophical, etc.  I’m not saying that art can’t be that, I’m just pointing out the art I see that wants to pass as that.

The problem is that, honestly, what I see in a lot of art that goes by the label of “Contemporary” doesn’t speak to me, because it’s kind of supposed to be a riddle of sorts, or in need of great education and intellect.

What I see is people deciding to paint something that is not even that interesting by itself, but rather have titles and names that mask certain images as deep and important. And they probably are, but honestly a piece of art has to be able to communicate an idea clearly. That’s what we notice with much of art before the more modern era. They were messages and ideas that were clearly represented in an aesthetic way. In my view, art is supposed to embellish our lives, make them more beautiful, and inspire us to the highest of human ideals.

An artist’s work for me is valuable because of the craft and skill that goes into it, because there is an intention to reach out to people and connect.

But much of today’s art is quite self indulging and many I believe are only concerned with shocking the viewer.

So where am I going with this? you might ask. The issue here is that all of this artsy and fancy talk in an “artist’s statement” for me just looks like a way to see if people really buy into a piece of art and think of it as deep and meaningful. Someone once said “I prefer the art I don’t understand”…. Whaaaat?

Making art so filled with riddles is something that has turned it into something that is becoming inaccessible, simply because it’s made in a way that it wants to be looked at as intellectual and unique. For me, the best kind of art is the one that is universally felt, where the artist thought outside of himself and found a middle point where they can express and communicate what is most important to them in a way that shows care for their audience. Where the point is to connect in such a deep level that we realize we are not alone in our experience.

The work I make is an effort into bringing contemporary art back to thinking of a way to still be innovative, relevant to the times, yet communicate and touch people, and hopefully inspire someone. Where a piece of art can be felt and liked just like you would a song or a movie.

I don’t pretend to model what art should be like, but would like to think of myself as an artist that is tipping the scale towards beauty, clarity and inspiration… a way to make life more enjoyable, because we already hear enough in the news and people about how “awful” the world is. But that is not the wholeness of our reality. There is so much beauty in everyday life and inside ourselves that almost obligates me to paint over and over again, insisting in looking beyond our pain and into the serenity and peace with ourselves.

My deepest wish is that every piece I make can serve as a reminder of that reality that can overcome anything, and bring us back in touch with our true selves.

Thanks for reading, hope to meet some other time.
Nathan

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