For those of you who may be still considering what to enter in the Explore This! 5 exhibition, consider the following thoughts from our Product Research Director, Betsy Holster. Betsy, in addition to being on the National Board of CPSA, is a professor of art at California State at Fullerton. She is also an award winning artist. Her entry in the Explore This! 4 show is shown here. "Overpass/Underpass Covered" is colored pencil and Xerox transfer, 15 x 22-1/2"
WHY DO WE DO ART?
Betsy Holster, CPSA – Product Research Director
Reprinted with permission from To The Point – Spring 2005
Why do we do art? The immediate and common answer often is “because we have to.” Many people express the idea that they just couldn’t imagine their lives without art. Most of us in CPSA would categorize ourselves in this way.
The deeper answer requires us to closely examine what it is that art does for us – what function does it fulfill? This is a question that is often bypassed. For many, enjoyment sometimes seems to be enough; why look further when you know that the pleasure you feel in the process of creating works seems to say it all?
So what difference does it make if we question our art ‘motives’? Do we really need to know why we feel compelled to create art? Why bother to inquire? One of the main reasons this personal interrogation is important and useful is that when we know what we expect art to do for us, we can focus on those art activities that will get us there. It’s a simple idea but one that can make a huge difference in our personal satisfaction level.
There are a variety of different things that art can ‘do’ for us. Some of these include the following:
· Art can create a system of goals and successes – progress benchmarks – that give a sense of satisfaction.
· Art can allow for a meditative process of close observation.
· Art provides a platform for communication on many levels.
· Art creates links to cultures around the world – a way to study our differences and similarities.
· The examination of art places us within a continuum of historic visual expression.
· Being fully engaged in art forces us to ask questions, solve problems, and intellectually challenge ourselves.
Even within these areas we can investigate what we as individuals want art to do for us.
Not all of us will be interested in all of these areas – and that is what makes this examination of our expectations regarding art so valuable. If we know what we need, and what we want, we enhance the likelihood that we will put ourselves in situations where we will meet these important needs.
This is one of the strengths of our society. Our members will be found along a fascinating and varied continuum of wants and needs. And the CPSA provides a variety of venues to explore these ideas, from the international/national level with the annual convention, exhibits, workshops, and TTP, to the local/regional level, with chapter meetings, newsletters, workshops and other activities, all the way to the individual level where conversations between people who “like to do art” can be a strong component of what is needed to satisfy our art needs. I invite you all to join in this rewarding exploration.
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