July 12, 2011 in Inspiration
A new shirt, a new pair of shoes, a great watch – there’s lots of purchases to be made on the highstreet that give us all an instant kick of satisfaction. After all, it’s our choice how we spend our hard earned money, and sometimes it’s just nice to buy something special as a treat.
Sometimes though I feel a little bit like I’m on a treadmill. It can be a really full-on month of late nights at work, and I find by the end of it I’m not necessarily any further forward on a personal level.
So lately I’ve been taking some time out to evaluate things a little, focus on what’s important, and see what else I can gain from some of my most treasured possessions that aren’t quite so ephemeral as the new shoes I seem to get through so regularly.
I don’t have stacks of expensive paintings on the walls in my home. No, it’s much more humble than that. But there are a few pieces of art and many found objects on the walls as well as some great family photos. Making my home a place of total serenity has been my objective for quite a while, and it’s getting there now, but I think that the art on my walls has really helped me get to grips with a few elements of my life.
You may gain very different things from art, but here are 8 ways that it’s benefited me, and I really hope it inspires some of you to think a little differently when you next look at a piece…
Outside of the context of school, university or work’s occasional training day, we often fall into a lull of practicing what we know in most areas of our lives. It’s not until something gives us a bit of a wake-up call that we sometimes realise how much more there is to life that we haven’t learned yet.
Art definitely has the power to get you out of your comfort zone because it’s visually so diverse, fundamentally has a lot of creative effort put into it by the artist, and because it sits very persistently on you wall expecting attention!
What can you learn? Learn about the artist, the context of the image, a little about your self perhaps, about your own reaction and interpretations of the image, and plenty about others when they see it too…
Emotional response is important and you can get it from more than just standup comedy or a tragic film – learn to gain an emotional response from art itself by exploring it and getting a greater understanding of its meaning to you! Provoke thoughts and feelings that you wouldn’t otherwise interact with in your day to day life.
Sometimes it’s just fun to have a piece of art on your wall that provokes a reaction from others. Don’t be afraid to make a statement and let the art speak for you, expressing your own personality. Art isn’t just about the expression of the artist you know?
There’s a good reason that hospitals are full of artwork these days. It’s because art can genuinely be a positive influence on your life and affect your attitude just by looking at it. There are clearly exceptions, but spending some time infront of some great art will change anyone’s mood from that of stress to deep relaxation and appreciation.
It’s fine to treasure a special pair of shoes, your laptop, or your widescreen TV, but that love can be pretty short lived. Instead, you can learn to love and treasure objects that have a personal meaning to you, have depth, a story behind them, and will last a lifetime or beyond.
You’ll see your art every day and interpret it slightly differently each time, and you can take some pleasure in seeing loved ones’ faces light up when they see it too.
Listen… to art? What I mean by listening, is absorbing rather than talking, creating, or letting your mind wander. Viewing art gives us time for deep thought and reflection, just like a great book or an inspired piece of music. It’s an opportunity to practice focus on one thing, and to get a break from the wider world’s infinite distractions if even just for a moment.
Use the art as an influence in your own creative work. You don’t need to be a painter to be influenced by a painting, just let the knowledge you’ve gained from exploring a piece affect whatever work it is that you do each day.
Find different ways of looking at your art, consider colour and texture and paint strokes, not just the image as whole. Learn to look both in detail and explore an image in its entirety, the quality of the surface, the reflection of light, how the colours change from morning to evening – you’ll be quite surprised.
Gifting art is a great pleasure. Have you ever given a treasured book away to a friend or loved one and not expected it back? It can be a similar feeling with art – you’re gifting something that an artist has put an immeasurable amount of creative effort behind, but also that you have some emotional investment in too. Of course, part of giving is what we leave behind when we’re gone too – and leaving art for inheritance is a lovely way to show your appreciation and love for family.