Art isn't just for Artists
Art is for everyone. Or is it?
When we are young we are encouraged to make art and to be creative. Art is a big part of our young lives. As adults, however, we forget art, we don’t consciously make time for it and we don’t notice it around us. That creates a loop within the art world, where art is created by artists and consumed by other artists, becoming predictable and repetitive — the opposite of what art should be.
While we’re young we are encouraged to draw, sing, paint, make up games and songs, and we know these things to be important for the development of kids. However, that’s all we see it as: a stage. We perceive being creative as necessary but temporary. As kids grow up we expect them to stop drawing, stop making up stories, stop playing, and instead focus on studying and thinking about academics. We want them to learn, to consume what others have discovered, but not to explore and create things for themselves. If a kid still has a drive for the arts then we quickly put them in a box of: artist. This “artist” box is very limited and therefore armful. We assume that because someone is creative they are gonna follow one pre design path, which is very limiting and completely goes against what being creative means, we think it narrows down their opportunities in terms of career paths, job options and that that is all they are interested in! In addition, we are disregarding the fact that everyone is creative; all in different ways, and some more in touch with it than others, but still all creative. So the fact that a kid likes drawing or music or any other art form, should be seen as something that opens new doors instead of something that closes them.
We may not notice it but we all consume art and products created by creative minds everyday. From the music we listen to on the radio, the shows we watch on Netflix, to the designs of the websites we visit, or the people we follow online. And even though there is a difference between a Saturday afternoon rom-com on TV or a movie that won a Cannes Film Festival award, both those movies are creative pieces, they have the same structure and similar thought process and they are both important and valid. It’s extremely important to understand that without artists we wouldn’t have a lot of everyday things! We might have phones but not cool cases for them, we might have a TV but it would only play the news, we might have books but they would only state facts, we might have clothing but it would all be plain and simple. Basically we wouldn’t have any kind of entertainment or creative content.
So why aren’t we seeing all these different realms as Art? Why are we only thinking about oil paintings on museums and why aren’t we making the connection between all these art form we are already consuming?
It’s assumed that art is supposed to be super complex and only if you study it and learn about all the past movements can you understand any art. But the truth is if you are exposed to it, then you’ll understand it. If you watch enough movies you’ll start guessing their plots just from the first 10 minutes, because you learn the language. You get used to it, so you start paying attention to clues and camera shots that give away the storyline. In the same way, if people were used to going to contemporary art exhibitions they would start picking up on how it all works.
Another impediment is that VisualArts aren’t marketed. Most art fields are marketed and that’s how people consume it and get into it. Music for instance. There are a lot of different music genres and artists, and music could be a niche too, just like contemporary arts. If we didn’t have the radio, Spotify, music videos or artist profiles on Instagram, that allow us to get to know the artist and understand their music better. But music is the furthest thing away form being a niche as possible! Music is such a universal art form! It builds communities, it brings us joy and sadness and all the emotions at once, it makes us dance, music accompanies us in every stage of life, from when we are kids, to teens, to adults. And there are so many genres from pop, to folk, metal, rock, and even if you don’t know or like all of them you still like music, know music and have favourite songs and artists.
We need art to be encouraged and seen for all the forms it exists in, and to be let out of its box. Art museums should be more accessible and open, and visual artists should expand their horizons in terms of where their art (is at) exits. Just like music isn’t only available at concerts, and acting isn’t only found in theatres, contemporary art shouldn’t only be available at museums. Just like musicians and actors have contracts, managers and multiple ways of income — such as selling tickets for performances, selling merchandise, doing tours, meet ups, talks and conferences, among others — so should contemporary artists. We are told those opportunities aren’t available to them for a number of reasons that are not true, and we need to create the systems to support all forms of art and not just a few.
Being creative should be seen as something exciting and promising and young people should be encouraged to do so and express their individuality through whatever art form they desire, while having job security, a steady income and a promising future. Art needs to be encouraged and a part of our everyday lives, instead of being a closed and elitist circle. Art is for everyone. And it should start being so.
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