Art creates space. That’s what it does. It creates space between life and our experience of it. In other words, it gives us the chance to reflect, to see ourselves in 3rd person, to take the pressure off making decisions for a moment.
Art gives people a moment, a moment to take their focus off themselves and their immediate situations - to explore the creative world and then somehow to follow back and see themselves in that world. It is re-orienting us to ourselves. Without art we get sort of a hyper focus on the details of our life. Art distracts us from our goals. It teases us away from seeing only our next step. It lures us outside of narrow focus. This is both the threat and danger of art as well. It is a powerful force. In luring us away from ourselves there is the chance we will not get back. There is also the chance we will not want to go back. We may find this new reality supreme to our existence without it. It is designed to mess with us!
Art is less like a mirror and more like a lens. It looks at a world that could be, one that we can barely see with our natural eyes. It translates as something new, strange, almost distorted, yet wildly compelling. We find ourselves staring. What it is about the painting we can not say. Why the song haunts us we can not put into words. But we know something is happening. Something powerful (other dimensional) is taking place. We are seeing another world.
But this is where it comes back around: that other world is actually our world. It is just not our world yet. It is almost like dejavu. There is a familiarity when we see it, a sense that we have been there before. Perhaps our future self has.
Art sees a world without limits, one outside of what we narrowly see as reality. It allows us to actually experience that world, to sense it. Though we know we can’t maintain the feeling it brings, the freshness of its air does wonders for our outlook here.
So in essence we need art. We can live without it. We can survive without it. But unless there are people finding and translating beauty into our world we can quickly forget her value. We can reduce life to mere instinctual survival. There is something more. That is fact. It is not make believe. Art does not seek to escape the real world, it seeks to find it. What we find in there is not fanciful in the sense that it is false. Those premonitions of a new world may be more real.
That is the real power of good art. It finds a reality that is not always accessible. It gets to something that hasn’t yet been discovered. It mines realities that help us remember that beauty and truth are endlessly understandable.
Without art we lose beauty. Art is the ability to find and translate beauty. Beauty is hope. Beauty is always around but not always available. She can be quite elusive at times. Artist must follow her and remind us all that she is still alive.