Trying to decide on my first topic is as difficult as deciding what to draw. Sometimes, you just have days where all you want to do is create but you have no idea where to begin. I guess I should start by trying to define it – it is impossible, but it should give you the right idea. A starting point, at least!
Art is and always has been very, very important. Not important as in status or celebrity, but of Great Importance. It is a method of communication, an expression of emotion, an instruction, an imperative… where words would fail, art steps in. Where you need to show, teach, tell, inform, art steps in. It is a stimulant, massaging your lobes and cortices, influencing your imagination, allowing you to think impossible things, set yourself goals, help you solve problems. Without art, do you think we’d be where we are today?
There are tonnes of people in our history and in the world today who influence our culture and the way we live, simply by designing, drawing and creating things. This huge metaphorical artistic tree doesn’t stop at comics and paintings and sculptures (important media in themselves). There are other obvious branches – your car, your house (and the wallpaper and the furniture), the signs that point you the right way to work every morning, the adverts you see, the can of whatever you’re drinking right now…
Are you a doctor? Medical illustrations help you recognise how the body works without having to find a body each time. Perhaps you’re a mechanic? Following the illustrated guidelines of that complex machine you’re fixing is a lot easier than reading a wall of text. I’m sure by now you’ve got the right idea.
Thing is, it isn’t important just for the maps and the surgeries. Some people don’t do it for a living – they do it because it makes them feel human and that’s also very, very important. It gives them good feelings and dissolves the bad, it allows them to breathe and enables them to express things they couldn’t normally express. Ever received a valentine from a person you knew had trouble talking about their feelings? Or a drawing of you from a child? I do it because I love it. I get those good feelings, it helps me make sense of situations, an emotional outlet. It helps me tell stories I’ve just made up in my head, make up new people and capture memories.
The best thing to remember about art: despite how important it is to the working world (no matter how hard they try to dismiss it), creativity is essential to every single one of us. Anything you make by yourself is beautiful. Even that ‘crappy’ stick man. (Come on now, let’s be honest; we’ve seen worse in the Tate Modern).
No matter how ‘crap’ or ‘amazing’ you think you are, someone in this world will always appreciate something you’ve made for them with your own hands. And it is always beautiful.
By Leigh Hunt