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The Meaning of Art

Personal Essay

Art is painting, art is drawing, dancing, singing, screaming, writing, acting, pretending, imagining. Art is everything under the sun and more. It is intergrated into every aspect of our lives and yet so many people find ways to ignore it. Ridiculously enough, these people don't even bother to recognize that the simple tunes they hum as they cook, or the skip they make on the way to work are an artistic expression. Then, of course, there are the cultures and the people who have so much art in their lives that they don't recognize it even as that, but as a completely different, yet wonderful thing. Some ancient cultures don't even have a word for art, it is so intergrated into their lives.

But, what does art mean to me? Art means expression, art means sorrow drawn on a blank sheet of paper, a tune of joy whistling through the air, a silly dance when I'm with my friends. I remember when I first found out I got into Vic, it was a feeling of pure happiness. Finally, there was a place where I could have the freedom to express myself, a place that would help me learn to express myself better. Being able to actually take all the option courses (drama, art, band, choral) was wonderful, but besides that the teachers tried to introduce each form of art into they core subjects. Vic was a school where you were encouraged to draw in Social Studies, write poetry in Science, dramatize in Math, and sing in Language Arts. I loved it.

Taking Art was so wonderful, it was such an interesting class, that helped to do so many interesting things. We drew, painted, sketched, made collages and mixed media works, sculptures, worked with charcoal and pastels, and got remarkable dirty doing it all without anybody caring, it was wonderful. All of these tools were at my fingertips, there to express myself, to help show myself to the world. There are things I do in my drawing and paintings that I won't do anywhere else, there are feelings I can't express with anything other than a pen, pencil, paintbrush, stick of charcoal or paintbrush.

Besides getting to show people a part of me, I get to show them something about themselves. When two friends look at a piece of charcoal work they see two different images, and then they see what it meant to me. I drew a face in charcoal, it was a white face emerging from a piece of black paper, the responses I got were quite interesting. One person thought it was a spirit coming out of the shadows, and another thought it showed how the human spirit is enveloped in darkness. Both were somewhat different, yet simliar, they both had something to do with spirits and darkness, but one was positive and one was negative. So, the reactions are varied, they show each person's emotions, I'm sure you can tell which person is a little more serious. Its a nice feeling to know that I am capable of evoking such strong emotion in another person.

Art, its a way to express yourself to others, a way to make other think about themselves. It can be accomplished in any number of ways, through humming a simple wordless tune to writing a five verse song. A sketch with only a few lines and no colour, half erased can convey as much feeling as an oil painting. Murals in churches, photographs in magazines, radio ads, television skits, children playing ring-around-the-rosey, pretending to be grown up, or faeries on a magickal island. Each and everyone one of these is a distinct form of art.