The Emotion of Art
Everybody has their favourite piece of art, if not a painting then an album cover, illustration or design, something which has been created to invoke an emotion, something which has been created to portray feelings, and memories, to advertise and sell products or to display an individuals talent. How does this work? How is it that art can effect the way we behave, how we respond to, and what products we are likely to buy? To answer these questions we need to consider the purpose of thought and emotion, we need to understand why we are stimulated by images, sights and sounds, touch and smell, colour and texture and how it benefits us, and as a result of this we can further appreciate the work and skill that has gone into producing art.
Life for all its complexities is driven by three major requirements, Survive, Stay alive and Multiply. regardless of how we believe that we have grown and matured over time and how society has progressed we are still driven by these three basic requirements. In a way everything that we do in our lives is associated to either Survival (don't get eaten or run over). Stay alive (eat, drink and be merry) and Multiply (let the genes do their reproducing). Our subconscious mind is constantly working with every scenario to ensure that these three points are achieved. Through art we can deceive our minds and portray whatever state we wish, we can introduce scenarios which entice the mind to feel warm, safe and comfortable or confused, disorientated and endangered.
Feng shui creates an atmosphere within the workplace or at home by ensuring that the mind is in a relaxed state through its surroundings, don't place seats under mirrors, don't sit with your back to a door, don't use red and so on, in short anything which can be considered in any way dangerous or give the mind the sense of danger is avoided. Our minds are always on the look out for danger and analysing the environment to find it, if you can create an environment with as little danger as possible then the mind is more comfortable and you are more relaxed. In the same way as humans feel safer in a crowd its a prehistoric and biological trait used for survival. Art can impersonate these feelings in a mild way
When you are walking along a road and its getting dark so your vision is not great, you see something in the corner of you eye, a figure, an animal you turn to look and there is nothing there, a ghost maybe? the truth is there may have been nothing at all or an insect flew past or a cloud cast a small shadow, but what happened was that in that split second your mind searched it's database in an effort to match the form you had partially glimpsed, if it is unable to exactly match the vision then it will associate it with the next best thing or most common vision which, to humans is another human. Your mind has made you believe that a human form passed you when it did not. this is how art cons the mind, it creates forms and visions which stimulate or agitate the subconscious mind to create emotion.
A favourite painting in many households is one in which a human face is painted in a series of bubbles which spread across the canvas, as you look at it you know that it is a face but to your mind it is not, to your mind it is incomplete and therefore as you sit thinking that you are comfortable and relaxed there is always a problem with the painting, your mind is transfixed upon it unable to pair it with a factual image stored within. You will never be fully comfortable with that type of painting unless your mind needs constant stimulation.
During a conversation at work one day about art, the lady that I was speaking to commented on how annoyed she was that her brother in law was making a fortune selling his work. She explained to me that the artist had his own studio in a major capital city and that he could command thousands for his work and yet, she believed, it was childish and amateur. The lady had a portfolio of his which was produced by his studio and had been donated to her. She showed me his artwork to confirm her opinions. It was how she described it childish and simple but it was brilliant, the use of colour was genius and I know that if I had art like that on my walls it would always make me feel young and warm and in a holiday happy mood, that was why it was popular and expensive, not for its fine art qualities but for the emotion it conveyed, hence the popularity for field views or warm cosy houses giving you stable warm and free feelings.
In conclusion it has been my wish within this hub to question the ability of emotion in art to create moods and feelings, by briefly explaining how imagery effects the subconscious and how artists have perfected this form of manipulation. Sometimes for the wrong reasons, propaganda for example, it is light hearted, and opinionated but does briefly touch on more scientific processes which have modelled mind related research. Art should be enjoyed and will effect people different depending on their personality, the better the work the more of us are affected more of the time.