art and emotions

still life with pencil

I scrutinized my recent drawing studies of fruits, wine glasses, or flower vases. I had arranged these inert objects on top of a table cloth, the styled fabric folds as artificial as the fluorescent lamp I positioned over the locale. Still life drawings required calculated compositions and precise strokes, which meant I could already picture the end result of my sketch.

To avoid falling deeper into a burgeoning art slump, I knew I needed to push my creative boundaries with an off-kilter, experimental piece. So I abandoned my sketchbook and graphite pencils, grabbed a thin slab of wood, and began to glob thick layers of acrylic paint with a palette knife. I had no foresight of the outcome, but letting the myriad of colors and organic textures flourish into a new piece brought a refreshing sense of excitement.

My droughts of artistic boredom followed by bursts of childlike, tactile exploration tell me that art cannot exist separate from emotion. An artist’s inner experiences manifest into outward expression, maybe hoping their creations will resonate with a receptive viewer. Or, maybe art is simply an outlet, a process for its own sake, the means with no particular end.

Perhaps I could use psychoanalysis to explain my gravitation towards the arts: it is unconscious defiance against my nuclear family of STEM pundits, the submerged iceberg that is my inability to voice my opinions on computability theory or database systems during family dinners.

But truly, I have no hard feelings—I practice the language of art, and it gives me a lens through which to unabashedly admire the beauty of life and human experiences.