Does Art Reflect Life?

Does life reflect art or does art reflect life?

This is my response to a question I found on the website quora.com a website where people ask about everything there is to ask a question about. The original link to my post is found here https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-best-illustration-of-how-life-imitates-art/answer/Daniel-Soares-20

Its a question about an intriguing subject, does art imitate life? Its a conversation I used to get in very often with other artists. My take on it is quite simple and its outlined below. I think its important to not get confused about art because art can be very confusing, it doesn't appear that art serves no purpose and it does appear to be completely inanimate! But thats not all there is to it. All in all any conversation about art does make for very interesting conversation. This is a brief summary but it is thought provoking and brief enough to get you thinking.

So, is this a chicken and egg problem?

Well, people definitely came before art, but art came about just shortly after. Just look below at the cave painting from probably the year 100,000+BC.



Does art imitate life? Not really, it kindof does but at the same time it doesn’t. In art you can probably see the whole of life, I don’t mean through just one painting, I mean by looking at art by lots of artists.

That’s because artists are very selective about what they make art about. So through one artist like Monet or Van Gogh you can see flowers and sunsets,



through another artist like Michelangelo you can see interpretations of divine forces,



and through another artist like Francis Bacon you can see the torture of existence.



The thing is many artists also have varying interpretations of life, they are also like philosophers with there own ideas. Artists are selective and have there own thoughts. Does art imitate life? I think rather that it shows us life, and art and the lives of artists are very much worthwhile studying as they can teach us a lot about life.

So what art is is kindof up to you, that’s important to understand. However, its also important to know that what you think art is, will be similar to what you think life is. Are you a fundamentalist, an idealist, do you think art has a political agenda? Or are you aware of the huge variety of life and human experience that’s out there, and is art a display of the experience of those who are living?

Memories and What Matters — Why and how art is important to all of us

I believe that many artists are actually capturing their memories. Art is a very complex thing that can be understood if we don’t try to put it in a box everytime we talk about it.

The world is a complicated place that is made up of many different things. Outside our own bodies we have physical objects everywhere, buildings, things we use, entertainments, and art. We are basically surrounded by objects and we have to navigate our way around the world utilising these things in order to build successful lives for ourselves.

Luckily our ancestors built systems for us so that the world is easier to navigate, they have given us school, job centers, museums, government and so on.

What the hell am I talking about here? The very interesting thing about all this is that art manages to exist without too much control. Let me explain, for years people have debated the question “what is art” and after all these years the community still hasn’t come to any sort of agreement on this. The debates about the question itself “what is art” have become in a way an amusing part of daily life for people interested in art. And it’s true in a sense that art can be anything.

However, I have developed a different understanding of the answer to “what is art”, and it’s become my go to idea for these kinds of discussions.
Art is a thing made by an artist who intends only to make “art” in the traditional sense and is inspired by past artists.
Artists only make art about something that matters to them. These could be memories, ideas, thoughts, experience, emotions, philosophies, desires. These expressions could also be completely or partly unconscious too.

Now take those two thoughts and you realise that the art in our world is a reflection of people’s (artist’s) values. And therefore it is made-up of what artists (people) are thinking. And because nobody is making art they don’t want to make, art therefore is made up of what we think.

Why is this important to know? Its important because through art we can see how society is generally thinking and what direction its going in. Its also important for artists to know because its important to realise that what you are making is a reflection of yourself and you have some conscious power over what that can be. When you make art you are constantly showing us your values and what’s important to you and those things can be unlimited. Your power in the world as an artist is that by making art you are contributing to the atmosphere of society. And that’s what I believe art does, and that’s why I think art is important.