Philosophers have often asked this question to people and thinkers alike. And while it is pretty much common knowledge that beauty is subjective, and that everyone has their own answer to the question “what is beauty?”, there are some things that are pretty universal. For example, perform an Internet search about “beauty”, no matter which country you are in, chances are you will get a lot of images of women.
Not only women, but women with similar proportions, face structures, height, weight, eye shape, pretty much everything. Furthermore, not only does our perception of worldwide beauty stay the same regardless of the culture, but it is interesting to know that this hasn’t always been the case.
A history lesson
If you get the chance, check out some classic art pieces and see how women were painted. If you get real ambitious, go back even further and check out depictions of many cave paintings around the world. Chances are, you will find that women were depicted as much larger and chubbier, if you will. This shows that not only was the perception of beauty different in those days, but it was just as universal.
It is amazing how people from different sides of the globe not only have common conceptions of beauty, but that they tend to change at a parallel rate. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it has been shown that people have common conceptions of what beauty is, and also that these conceptions are subject to change without warning.
I feel as though I have made quite a few arguments that art is essential to us as a species. Without reiterating too much, art allows us to come together and see the world through the eyes of someone else. To share the beauty and the pain of the world in a way that speaks to everyone. It also allows us to become part of something larger by way of community.
Our community is what separates us from the beasts. We are given a capacity for higher thought and given the ability to interpret things not only in different ways, but ways in which we can share with one another.
More than just culture
In addition to art heavily contributing to culture, it also has the power to influence. From the classic works of Renaissance artists to contemporary digital artists, pictures have cemented themselves in our minds for all of eternity. Think about your favorite work of art, what it means to you, and how it affects you. Now think of something else that has that type of impact on your life and depiction of beauty.
For me, there is nothing more powerful than a good work of art. Perhaps it is because it is so ingrained in what makes us human, or perhaps it’s the way in which it helps us interpret the world around us, but the power of art is truly something that cannot be denied. No matter its form, its content, or its medium, art is truly the glue that holds society together.
In earlier articles, I explained the way in which art allows us to connect with those around us. However, there is a much deeper and real connection between art, people, and what makes us part of a community. As a volunteer at many different community and art events, I realized just how interconnected art is with the local community.
Think about it at the very base level. A community plans an event, fundraiser, bake sale, or whatever. There needs to be advertisements for these events correct? Ones that will draw attention and get people interested in attending. So where is the first place a community planner would go in order to make that happen? Why, an artist of course!
A beautiful bond
The connection between art and community has been part of humanity every since the beginning of time. People have always been attracted to art, and it serves as a great way to draw people into events. Today, that connection has not waned, but if anything, gotten stronger. Social media, art communities, and planners can all connect in ways never seen before and can work together to strengthen bonds between artists and community members.
The next time you attend a community event, or even see an advertisement for one, whatever it may be, see how much of an impact the artwork has on strengthening the message. Art and community have always been one in the same, and hopefully social media is the next step in further strengthening that bond.
In a previous article, I discussed how social media has redefined what we consider as art. Social media is a force to be reckoned with worldwide, helping to connect people (for better or worse) and create a more cohesive web of online communication. Whether or not artists want to believe it, the days of small communes and sharing work on a personal level is going the way of the dodo, and it is time that we learn to adapt.
Now as poorly as the previous statement may have painted social media, there is a definite upside to the change in the way we connect. Artists now have a much larger platform on which to communicate, share techniques, outlets, tips, and virtually everything else that makes a successful art community.
The only problem
Is that by widening the net for artistic communication to a more global scale, it does diminish some of the face-to-face time we get with our peers. There is less of an appreciation for the physical being of art and more of a focus on gathering as much information as possible. Someday, perhaps we can reach a singularity where social media acts as a way to help us connect in person, while also giving us the online resources we need to succeed.
Social media is still a relatively new phenomenon in our world, and it will take us awhile to learn how to use it to strengthen interpersonal relationships rather than marginalizing them. Hopefully we will get there.
Those that are Internet savvy know the length at which social media affects our lives. Whether it is in our social, economical, or geographical scope, social media has been able to connect us in ways we never imagined. There is no debating that social media has penetrated every aspect of our lives, which means it has impacted art as well.
Art has long been a form of expression in which people were able to illustrate the world around them. Whether it be a cave painting or political painting, there is something about art that is basically human. So how do we define art in the new technology age in which we live?
The bigger picture
Is that when it comes to art and social media, there are a few pros and cons. On the plus side, people are able to share art and ideas much more easily, but on the other hand, you lose some of the tangibility of older art. Social media art is not something that people can hold, witness, and fell in the same way paintings are.
So what you get is a difference in the way art is presented, but not a difference in how it makes us feel as people. The idea of art hasn’t changed, even though the medium has. The days of being able to look, physically at a painting are unfortunately waning, but that does not mean that they are gone for good. We simply need to use social media to help us define exactly what art is.
Whether or not we know this or want to believe it, art is a very important part of what makes us human. Part of every known civilization, even during prehistoric times, art has been used as a way for people to communicate and describe the world around them. And as advanced as we may think we are today, we are still the same primates that we have always been. Well, sort of.
Modern art is only different now because the way the world is shaped is different. Think about this for a second, describe something that you have never seen before. Much like a tree falling in the woods, if you haven’t seen or experienced it, how can you possibly depict it. That is what makes art so amazing, seeing the world through a different lens.
Which lens is which?
This is sort of a trick question, because the answer is essential that while each lens is different, they are still all really the same. Each lens is an artists’ view of the world and their ability to depict it. This is why we should continue to appreciate art and keep teaching it to young people, because at the end of the day, life is just a series of sensory inputs that we interpret as living.
What art does for us is so much more than a form of entertainment. I helps us become one with humanity and understand people that view the world differently. And while this can be scary, different, or unnerving at times, it is an essential part in helping us define just who we are.