I came across this quote about Art and Happiness “Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.” by John Lubbock, The Pleasures of Life. He was a banker and worked with his family’s company, but also made significant contributions to archaeology, ethnography, and several branches of biology. He helped establish archaeology as a scientific discipline.
It made me think, if Art is happiness, then why did so many artists and writers create art out of despair and struggle? Is it their desire to find happiness that made them create art? If that is the case then, how does the audience find pleasure in experiencing art created by the other? Whatever may the answer to these, one thing is certain, from my personal experience… Making Art Makes Me Happy 🙂
According to Neuroscience, creating or observing Art in whichever form reduces cortisol – the stress hormone. It also can trigger endorphins, which make us feel good and helps us overcome stress and pain. That sense of fulfillment leads to overall positive emotions and a sense of well-being. It increases overall satisfaction in our lives.
I can totally vouch for the concept of “flow” that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote about in his book of the same name. This is an experience of complete focus and absorption when it can make you forget the sense of time.
The “Flow” may feel similar to other mindfulness practices such as prayer, and meditation, but I think is more. In my experience, the creative process is rewarding psychologically, because there is exploration and mental stimulation on many levels
We have been given creative faculties because of the divine design. Over the centuries, it has helped augment the quality of our lives, and build cultures around it, besides building bridges and inventing tools for every conceivable problem or challenge.
While researching online on the subject, came across a crisp article on the subject that echoes my thoughts on the subject of Art as Therapy as well. Check it out, it’s a quick read.
The featured image of this article is a segment of the artwork by the Chinese Artist, Yue Minjun, whose army of happy men I happen to have seen many years ago at an art fair in Dubai.
The hysterically laughing man in the paintings is his self-portraits, The same expression in many different compositions can mean a lot of things or interpretations. I would stick to the simplest of them all – Art is Happiness 🙂 🙂 He has been laughing with the same expression for three decades now.