Importance of art: 7 surprising ways art influences us daily
Artist & Founder of Kavi Art Studio
Written on 3 June 2021
7 mins read
You remember your school days when you had a compulsory art class every week?
Were you excited about it? Or did you hate it entirely?
No matter how you felt about your art class, can I let you in on a surprising fact?
These painting classes were primarily responsible for developing critical skills that helped you in all other forms of activities.
Eric Jensen, brain researcher, states in his book Arts with the Brain in Mind, “The systems arts nourish, which include our integrated sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional, and motor capacities, are, in fact, the driving forces behind all other learning.”
And due to this reason, numerous studies have shown that children who create more art consistently had better academic performance due to increased cognitive ability.
Painting Classes are important in childhood for developing critical skills
Despite the growing evidence that art enhances our wellbeing, majority of Indians still question the importance of art. It is just viewed as a decorative accessory or an extracurricular activity that colours up the report card or resume.
Let me ask you a question – would you just eat the cherries and chocolate chips on a cake, without eating the entire piece?
When we reduce art to be a trifling activity, it’s like eating just the icing on the cake because it just looks delicious.
Sure, art is aesthetic and pleasing.
But what about the bread and cream that supports these cherries?
In other words, art is the unifying fabric of every society.
In this blog, you will understand how art has always played a pivotal role in understanding ourselves, leading movements and transforming our society.
And to make it easily digestible, specific examples and research studies have been included to best illustrate how art influences us in our daily lives.
But first, what is art?
Table of Contents
What is Art?
What is the importance of art?
How does art improve our mood?
How does art make us better humans?
How does art make us smarter?
What is the importance of art in our culture?
How is art important for connecting with others?
How does art help us in understanding different cultures?
How powerful is visual art for demanding change?
What is Art? Isn't art an expression of everything we do?
The most immediate thought whenever we hear the term art is the beautiful dance of colours textures and lines.
But have you ever wondered what art is, and what isn’t? Where does one draw the line?
If you ask me, art is an intimate expression of ourselves. In that case, isn’t every creative human activity a work of art? Whether it is designing our homes, dressing ourselves, talking to persuade others, we infuse our personality into everything we do.
Even the most scientific activities like analysing data and finding patterns, which is called data science or data visualization, is called an art these days.
If we just look at the strictest definition of art being a visual treat for the eyes, art breathes around us.
We perceive the world around predominantly through our eyes. It is a well-known fact that as humans, our vision provides 80% of all the sensory information.
The aesthetically laid out furniture in our house, the beautiful garnishing of dishes in a restaurant, or the green trees on our way back to home – all these make us happy. And it is not by chance. All these have been artfully designed to be an eye-candy.
Art plays an important role on a daily basis
All of these artifacts influence us as much as we influence their creation.
Below is the list of 7 reasons how art influences us on an individual level, on a country level, and on a global level.
What is the importance of art - explained in 7 points
1. How does art improve our mood?
Did you know that just looking at paintings makes us experience the same feelings that are triggered when we fall in love?
Art is important for improving our mood
Semir Zeki, professor at University College London conducted an experiment to analyse what happens in the brain when you look at beautiful paintings. He concluded that no matter what the subject of painting is – a landscape, a portrait, still life, or flowers or abstract – it released chemicals related to feelings of love, pleasure, and desire.
Research has shown that creating art for just 45 minutes produced immediate benefits in the form of reduced cortisol levels (a good measure for the experience of stress in humans).
2. How does art make us better humans?
For many people, art is meant to express something that we are unable to express or convey in any other medium. Drawing, painting, or moulding objects from clay has been scientifically proven to help people to deal with different kinds of trauma.
Importance of art in making us better people
Developing an appreciation for art helps us empathise with contrary viewpoints. It teaches us how to be more accepting and tolerant.
Viewing art also make us more empathic because it lets us understand different perspectives.
3. How does art make us smarter?
The benefits of art are not just for admirers, but also for creators.
Painting improves memory and protects the brain from aging. It improves IQ, and enhances critical and complex reasoning skills.
Craeting paintings makes us smarter and boosts intelligence
Making any piece of art makes us focus on intricate details of the object in focus. It forces us to understand how various things like shape, texture, lighting, shadows, reflections play a role in the way we see an object.
Painting courses provide ample opportunities to continually challenge oneself and gives one heightened sense of achievement and self-worth.
And you don’t have to create amazing art to reap these benefits. As long as you enjoy the process of creating art, you will see amazing changes in your state of mind.
4. What is the importance of art in our culture?
All humans certainly don’t speak the same language.
In Ancient India, we spoke completely different languages like Pali, Prakrit and Sanskrit. Even today, we speak a hundred different languages.
But still, our rituals and values have stood the test of time because ancient India gave utmost importance to art.
Art and dance have always been important in Indian culture
Values and beliefs have been embedded in our culture using storytelling in folk art and folk dance. Our ancestors understood that art is the ultimate tool to connect with any human at any location, at any time period, irrespective of the language we speak.
This is how our identity as ‘unity in diversity’ was forged.
Leonardo da Vinci rightly said - “Art is the Queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.”
5. How is art important in connecting with others?
Ever wonder why the earliest rock paintings found 30,000-year-old caves pique so much interest? Even though it’s just some primitive art showing animals and hands, it reflects our innate desire to communicate with others and express ourselves.
Art enables us to connect easily with other like minded people
Yuval Noah Harari, the author of famous book Sapiens, explained that one of the two major reasons that humans have dominated the world is because we can connect with another human on anything – be it sport, brand, religion, etc.
If you think of how do we express our solidarity, the easiest way is by using symbols and visual aids. It explains why we dress up as our favourite characters, hold candles in protests, create impactful visuals for social causes. We instantly recognize these symbols and show our support by adopting these visual cues.
6. How does art help us in understanding different cultures?
Art is the barometer that measures levels of cultural sophistication. All that we know about various cultures is because of the artifacts our ancestors left behind.
Without these artifacts, do you think we would have known that entire south east Asia was heavily influenced by India? Take for example the Angkor Wat of Cambodia. The architectural construction is strikingly similar to ours.
Art is important in understanding the world around us.
This shows that art has the power to take cultural practices from where it originated and integrate them into different parts of the world without losing its identity.
And would it be possible to describe any culture without these artifacts? For example, how would we understand western cultures without their paintings, movies, places, etc?
No matter how much we listen to the ‘facts’, without these creative expressions, it is impossible to understand what other cultures feel like, and develop an appreciation for them.
7. How powerful is visual art for demanding change?
When artists give form to revelation, their art can advance, deepen and potentially transform the consciousness of their community – by Alex Grey
When one says that our glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising 3-4mm every year, do people really know what it means? The only way to make people start acting is to show them vivid images of sinking cities and utter collapse.
When the LGBTQ community started demanding equal rights, they associated themselves with a rainbow. It instantly caught on with other LGBTQ persons because it represented inclusion. Do you think that without the powerful imagery of a rainbow, it would have been possible to unite all the people in the world? Definitely, not.
Visual Art cues are important for leading change
Throughout history, art has always been used to transform society.
Take for example the revolt of India against British. Artists from Bengal School of Art like Abindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose disposed the Company Style paintings that were being promoted by the British. They took refuge in Indian Art Styles and revolted against the British by creating patriotic artworks.
As individuals, we can’t really do much. But, with others support, we can challenge the status quo, demand for a better world, and even achieve impossible feats.
Importance of art in exploring deeper selves
It would be an understatement to say art is important. As you can see in the blog, art is the foundation of every civilization. Without art, all other feats would fall apart. I think the world would have been full of broken people, deprived communities and unending misery.
This famous quote from the movie Dead Poets Society sums it perfectly - “Medicine, law, business, engineering — these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love — these are what we stay alive for.”
Art is an essential ingredient to empowering the hearts of people. It transcends language, political, social and cultural boundaries and bring people closer as members of the human race instead of dividing. It forms a pathway to greater understanding of the world and ourselves, enriching our souls with passion in the process.
Follow us for Daily Art Inspiration
With 16 years of experience, Kavi Art Studio has been a haven to art lovers from all walks of life. Whether you are looking for painting classes for children or adults, you can enroll and learn directly from Mrs. Kavitha. You can also buy art from any of the original handmade paintings in our studio in Hyderabad, India.