Get a Power Boost with Art: 14 Easy Ways to Fortify Your Day
The Undeniable Power of Art
The visual arts feed your eyes, dress you, adorn your body, and stimulate your brain. Art is the neon signs in Time Square, the design of every new iPhone, sneaker, and logo on the market. Visual artists are directing the most dramatic movie scenes in LA, painting murals on public walls, making statements with beautiful graffiti in Spain, creating the interiors of hotels in Miami, designing theater sets on Broadway, and collaborating with Fortune 500 companies on developing the visual impact of their websites.
“Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change—it can not only move us, it makes us move.”
― Ossie Davis
Connect ➞ Feel ➞ Relax
We connect to art in a basic, non-verbal, fundamental, truly human way: we have an emotive, physiological response to shapes, colors, lines, and textures—all composed in a variety of ways that tantalize and tickle our inner conscience. Scientists even suggest that the human body releases dopamine when a person gazes upon visual artworks that are pleasing, thus flooding his or her brain and body with a sense of peace and happiness.
Moreover, the arts have the potential to speak to us all, no matter our religion, ethnicity, culture, age, or even the decade or century in which we live. According to the research put together by Dahlia Zaidel in Art and Brain: Insights from Neuropsychology, Biology and Evolution, “One could argue here that art is a ‘higher’ representation of the human mind than language.” So by simply admiring the landscape hanging in your hotel, or pondering the sculpture in front of the city library, your response resonates at the very core of shared human experiences. In an age where we connect so easily with the entire world via snippets and flashes through virtual and digital communication, it’s refreshing, healthy, and even beneficial to connect to each other in such easily accessible, full-sensory ways.
14 Quick-and-Easy Ways To Incorporate Art Into Your Everyday Life
How about a few ways (among hundreds!) that you can build some art and artistic-thinking into your daily life?
Organize the books on your shelf by the color of their spine.
Follow at least one photographer, painter, tattoo artist, graffiti artist, multimedia, or art history feed on Instagram. (I recommend belated photographer Rodney Smith '66, artist Max Rieser '16, and the student-run Avon Old Farms arts account.)
Doodle in your notebook while waiting for class to begin.
Be aware of your clothing, the pattern of your tie, the color of your shirt and pick out something new with this in mind when you buy new clothes.
Take a photo that you think is “beautiful” or “worthy” on your phone once a day.
Plate your food by texture and color.
Pull up the image of someone or something on your phone, lay plain white paper on top so you can see the light from underneath, and try tracing that image.
Notice the difference with how things look in natural light, daylight, cloudy light, versus anything illuminated by a bulb.
Look up at buildings and wonder how they were made.
Play with Legos.
Pause a scene from a TV show or movie (I recommend “300” for the movie’s dramatic lighting influence) and check out the dramatic digital design and lighting.
Head to the library and check out the illustrated book covers.
Lie down on the grass in Jamerson Green or the fields and watch cloud formations.
Notice the various patterns everyone’s shoes left behind in the dirt, or from tracking through a puddle.
Differentiating Between Reality and Perception
As a student in the AP drawing class at Avon Old Farms, the New England boarding school for boys, reflects on how taking an art class has helped him look at the world differently, Pengyu Si "SP" '19 responds: “It has taught me how to observe the world and differentiate between the reality, my perception of it, and my artistic interpretation of it. To stay creative, I listen to music, travel, chat with children, read, ask stupid questions, go to art exhibitions and concerts, etc.”
Art is in your life. Period. Absorb it. Let it in! You couldn’t imagine a life without the benefit of what visual artists do, giving life and color and intrigue to the world around us. From greater psychological resilience in adulthood, to fine motor skills and emotional balance, research has proven that the exposure at a young age to all forms of art and art-making are essential to neurological functioning and brain growth! Build those creative neurons!
About the Author
Visual Arts Department Chair, Yearbook Advisor