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Is art purely an emotional affair?
Abir Banerjee


It is natural to feel some sort of emotions while beholding or examining a work of art. While some people have felt an overwhelming gush of emotions while observing art, some others have felt a mild tinge. Emotions have been a catalyst in the making and purchase of many works of art, no doubt. But is art purely an emotional issue for the artist? What about art lovers and collectors? Is it purely emotional also?

To start with, art is a very vulnerable concern. Unlike most other professions, artists expose their innermost parts to the world through their works. The expression of themselves in their pieces of art is an exposure in itself. Be it regret, sadness, anger, joy, frustration, or fulfillment, the artist always portrays an emotion or myriad of emotions through his art. Need we say that this vulnerability is what makes the bonding we feel when we sight a work of art possible? It is what gives soul and meaning to art. We immediately start to relate to the emotion(s) behind the piece.  

While some artists let us have just a little peek of their inner lives, some others splash it boldly for us to see. Some use it as a form of distraction from what they are going through. An example of this is Frida Kahlo. She was involved in a terrible car accident at a tender age. She survived it but had to live the rest of her life in varying degrees of pain. She spent most of her days in bed, painting. Art, for her, was an escape and she threw her soul into it. This was evident in her works which many have described as intense and violent.

However, is emotion all there is to art? Apart from the feelings attached to art, are there any other reasons artists do what they do? What other things make an artist dedicate his or her life to art?

Is art an emotional affair?

Many artists have mentioned purpose as one of the major reasons they do art. For them, it is a form of self-expression. Doing art gives them a sort of fulfillment they cannot get elsewhere.  Also, the need to reach out to people and impact them in some sort of way, through their art, is a major push. Their art is a way of leaving their mark in the world.

Some artists take art as a career. Apart from the emotional expression and fulfillment they derive from their work, they want to reach the peak of their careers and be known for great works. They want to make amazing art, become acclaimed for it, take degrees, speak at conferences, and teach in colleges.

What about art lovers and collectors? Outside the emotions involved, why else do they buy arts? Well, some do it to support the cause. They see art as a very noble concern that is neglected and needs support. Others purchase art strictly for decorative purposes while some do it to preserve history.  

What is your greatest motivation as an artist? Is it an outlet for your emotions? Or is it a way of impacting lives and creating meaning? Do you do it to build yourself an outstanding career? Are you an art lover? Why do you collect art? Why do you go to art events and exhibitions? Do you do art for all the reasons mentioned here? Or, are there other reasons you do art that we’ve not discussed? Kindly tell us about it, we would like to learn from you.

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Written by
Abir Banerjee
Art enthusiast from Kolkata
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