The Emotional Impact of Art
As humans, we are drawn to art. We collect art. We admire those that create art. We are driven to bring art into our lives, either to own it or to experience it. Through the millennia of mankind’s existence, in every society and culture, the desire for artistic expression and the impact that art has on the human existence is immense. Art in any medium, whether it is music, dance, a painting or a sculpture, has the capacity to evoke strong emotions within us. What makes us so attracted to art?
A Search for Beauty
The human instinct is to surround ourselves with beauty. Objects, settings, and even people that we find to be attractive appeal to, and even fascinate us. We covet beauty. So we spend our lives contentedly working to surround ourselves with beauty. Beauty literally moves us and motivates us.
When we find beauty in art, it awakens that impulse we have to experience it. It’s a predisposed drive, often subconscious, to enjoy those things we find aesthetically pleasing. Viewing or experiencing such beauty often triggers intense emotions within us. Have you ever been so moved by a painting or a piece of music that it brought you to tears? Our passionate response to beautiful art is beautiful in itself.
Not all art that we’re attracted to, do we consider to be beautiful. Sometimes a piece can be
confusing, unsightly, or even revolting; yet it captures our interest and curiosity and unleashes emotions and feelings within us that we may not have been aware existed. Art can help us to reach into the unconscious parts of our mind and experience aspects of ourselves that were otherwise suppressed and unidentified.
For some, art can be a transcendent experience and can have a great impact on helping us heal or overcome something we’ve undergone in our lives. The ability that art has to open our minds and allow our emotions to run free is unlike anything else.
When we’re drawn into a particular piece of art, it allows us to forget our daily stresses and emotional baggage and just lets us feel lost in the experience – if even for a moment. Yet while art can help us forget ourselves, it has the capacity to help us find ourselves at the same time.
Scottsdale resident Jeff Low, a celebrated interior designer and fine artist explains his creative process as simply a desire to express himself. “I consider myself an ‘escape artist’”, he quips. “With my work, I strive to help others escape from themselves for a moment and enter into my reality. An artist creates their works with pure emotion, and it’s the art itself in which the artist communicates to the world what they see or feel. It’s an invitation to the viewer to stray from their own mind, into the mind of the artist.”
Art helps us to be mindful, to tune into our surroundings and to ruminate on something other than our regular day-to-day thoughts. Much like meditation, it gives us a chance to stop, catch our breath and reset.
The Craving for Connection
At its basest function, art offers a visceral connection between the artist and viewer. As a communication between soul to soul, art has the ability to reach deep down into our hearts and psyche to bring about a rich depth of passions and emotions.
Phillip Payne, fine artist and owner of Desert Mountain Fine Art studio and gallery at Kierland Commons not only is an artist himself, but he aids buyers and collectors every day in the purchase and acquisition of fine art in a variety of mediums. Payne considers the impact that art has on us as one of the purest forms of a connection and bond among human beings.
“Something resonates with everyone,” he says. “Viewing and appreciating art is really just a search for a kindred spirit.” Everyone interprets art in their own way, which is what makes art more than just a piece to be viewed. It is a living, breathing thing in itself and it changes based upon who is viewing it and interpreting it. In this way, art often becomes bigger than the artist had even intended. When a viewer enjoys it as much as the artist did, it solidifies what the artist envisioned. That is a beautiful human connection.
Payne continues, “Art represents mastery to us. As humans, we appreciate mastery and pursue mastery. Perhaps it’s an instinctive desire to hold a piece of that mastery in our hearts and our minds. And possibly it’s a subconscious insinuation that associating with mastery will inspire our own mastery. After all, mastery begets mastery.”
Not only can a piece of art help us feel connected to the artist and to the human experience, many times a piece of art can provide a connection to our own individual lives. “Art that is passed down in a family can help us feel grounded; connected to our family, our roots, our heritage. We all want to feel grounded, feel connected,” Payne says. “Hanging a piece that you inherited from a parent or a grandparent speaks to you. It resonates with you. Especially if it has some family values, or some history, or a story about how they got it. When that story is passed down it even further connects us to our roots.”
The act of simply experiencing the art can also foster connections with each other. “Merely viewing art in a gallery or museum with others engenders genuine human-to-human connectivity. We look around, we meet people. We talk about the art and learn about each other. We feel bonded. And when it comes down to it, isn’t that what we are all searching for in our lives?”