Written by Micah Xu, Converge multimedia journalism intern and Junior at Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Technology (GSMST)
Why do we make things? That question has been asked by scholars and philosophers since we began asking philosophical questions. The simple answer to that question then “to serve a purpose”, but if that were true, then why do we make art? Why do some of us feel such a strong compulsion to create art when it serves no mechanical purpose? The answer, I think, is because it does serve a purpose. It serves as a way for us to express ourselves in a more human way than just saying it.
For example, if we take a look at what the great thinkers of the past have thought about the question, many of them dismiss art as human imitation of nature, while others believe that the human condition can only be expressed through art because only humans can really do it. Art, as a concept, has historically been a reflection of the time period and the artists themselves. Why do some of the best songs come from songwriters who are in the deepest of despair? The answer is that when people are in despair, or joy, or any other strong emotion, they see the world from an entirely different perspective than we normally do.
We as humans naturally crave the ability to express ourselves and to see others express themselves, but only art can provide a snapshot in time to what we were feeling. For many people, going to an art gallery is like walking into the collective minds of people long dead, reduced to bones and ash in the ground. Despite the fact that we never have and never will meet them, we feel like we understand them as people because of what we left behind. It leaves behind a legacy, something to tell the story of a person’s life long after they are dead, and that alone is beautiful. It can even help us cope with things that we are feeling today, because for all of the differences between humans of today and humans of the 18th century, one thing remains constant…