Often, when I introduce our business, I receive, “So you make art?” That is a Pandora’s box of a question if ever there was one (and yes, we make art but we also make a multitude of forged, fabricated and cast goods that are more utilitarian by name). Dependent on the tone and the perspective of the inquisitor I have a number of responses. When I receive a sneer, or a sentence that insinuates that art is somehow superfluous, I wonder about just when art started to become the locus of so much abuse.
As long as there have been humans there has been an artful compulsion. We have a need to express and to improve upon the objects representing the expression. Art, the imaginative, is, the impetus for most of our mortal undertakings. We had fire, we then had a source of warmth, a gathering place to whittle beside with our kinfolk. We needed handles on our knives and decorations on the handles. Even quantum physics relies on a leap of imagination preceding substantiation. It pleases us to decorate and adorn; it reduces the harshness of life. Imagination is not an “other”; it is essential. Music, poetry, literature, fine arts, etc., are key to our balanced and full development. Nature, herself, is beautiful and inspirational and beautiful objects are not expendable nor are they nonessential. What is it about art, that strikes people as unworthy of our time and resources? How does disparaging the beautifully made or the consciously rendered over the expediently and carelessly produced serve us currently? Without pulchritude and creativity, life for me would be impoverished and constricting.
The so-called expense of the arts is far less than the costs of football, baseball, basketball, or the majority of entertainments and distractions. Most arts don’t come close to utilizing the monies involved with producing a blockbuster film or a luxury automobile yet they inspire, give outlet to and encourage innovation, expansive thinking and demonstration of the human psyche.
Questions on the road to an answer.