Why would you engage in art

I went to an interesting talk last night given by Julia Alvarez from the Bearspace Gallery about collecting art.  It strikes me that there are a number of different perspectives for creating and collecting art. The presentations and conversations with collectors and artists afterwards made me reflect on these.

The first thing it made me want to do was to remind me what “art” is.  I went to the dictionary (OED), which says it’s the expression or application of creative skill and imagination typically in visual form.  This is didn’t match the range of things brought up in the conversations or presentations. If anything it reflected the act that the artists go through.  Collectors present said it was about an emotional connection and gut reaction, with a secondary rational reflection, testing their response around concerns such as if they could afford it. or where it would fit.

So my working list of reasons why art is engaging is as follows: creativity and challenging the anodyne; a luxury commodity; celebrity; aesthetics; ideas surrounding the work based on the rational side of the brain; technical or craft concerns; community (being with like minded people), and; expression. Obviously it is unlikely to be only one of these that engages people.

© Simon Jones 2018