While being out of town for several weeks, caring for my very ill daughter, I was repeatedly experiencing desires to be working in my studio at home. The need to be in my studio became stronger with each passing week. When I did return home, just sitting in my studio, touching my tools, metals and jewelry I had already created, brought me great comfort and inspiration.
I became curious as to what my reaction to being in my studio again was all about and began searching for an answer. I was able to locate a 100 definitions of what art is, what art does for our lives, how art is used by humans, and many academic papers on these topics. But nothing that dealt directly with my NEED to make art. However, I did find an intriguing article in the University of Washington Alumni Magazine written about musician and art historian Ellen Dissanayake.
Ellen Dissanayake has been wondering for years about the role of art in human evolution. Why did people make it? What evolutionary purpose did it serve? Did art evolve? Even after three books on these topics she is still searching for answers. She believes that humans are naturally aesthetic; art is found in every culture and that it is a genetically predisposed activity, much like language.
So, we all do it. We all need to do it. Some of us continue to make art after childhood, others loose interest. But it seems to come with being human. Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, considered art as one of the conditions of human life.
We as artists, musicians and writers work through our days hoping to find that brief period when time seems to stand still and we are lost in the whirlwind of our own imaginations. It is then that we truly understand Picasso when he said “Art washes away the dust of every day life.”
Well, musings over. Time to try to find that whirlwind.
Gail Brownfield, President