About a hundred years ago, an artist from France named Marcel Duchamp submitted a piece of art to an exhibition. It wasn’t a painting or sculpture, like most works of art at the time; it was a porcelain urinal! Duchamp did not even create it himself — it was purchased from a store. He merely turned it on its side and painted a fake signature on it. What on Earth was he thinking?
The piece of art, called “Fountain”, was rejected for inclusion in the exhibition. But it became one of the most influential works of art of the twentieth century.
Duchamp wanted to change the way we think about art. Up until that time, art had been about the artist’s skill — his or her ability to create images of the real world. Duchamp wanted art to be about ideas, thoughts and feelings, regardless of how or by whom it was physically created.
Art is a form of creativity and of communication. A painting, a book, a sculpture, a piece of jewelry can all be art. Sometimes you can see art in a museum, sometimes on the streets. Some art will be shown in a performance, and some art might be recorded. No matter what form it takes, art is meant to foster thoughts and emotions in those who see or hear it. Art isn’t always beautiful. In fact it can be ugly and scary too, depending on what the artist wants to tell us and how he wants us to feel. His art could be about how he sees the world or what is going on in his country or in his life.
But art is not only about the feelings of those viewing it; it is also an expression of the artist’s feelings. When you draw a picture, perform a dance, sing a song, or write a poem you can show what you might not be able to say. Art can be really impactful.
And art makes our lives richer. Think of the things that inspire thoughts or feelings in you. Then imagine how dull and unimaginative life would be without those things (and those feelings). That is the power of art!
Pablo Picasso once said…
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”