Internet is full of art – pictures, paintings, sculptures, buildings, monuments, movies, songs, symphonies, poems, literature, interpretive dance numbers, animations and so on, and so forth. As an amateur painter I feel overwhelmed – does anyone really need more paintings? Is there still not enough? How can I even know that I’m not doing something that was already made? All these thoughts have left me on a dry period for painting – do my paintings actually matter?
Well, I can always try to make myself feel better and say that yes, it matters to my parents and maybe some friends. And yes, it matters to me, I know that even if I agonize about this, I will still go back to painting sooner or later because for me it is a way of expression. But how to make it matter to others?
It is harder to understand what is art and what is not. Actually, it’s a very complicated question. The meaning of the word ‘art’ became so broad that it is hard to narrow it down. Can you say that something is art and something isn’t? Probably – no. But there’s art with different purpose. I will be talking about the art that is meant to make you think about life and about you values. I am talking about the symbolic art that is always more than it looks.
I am a big fan of such artists as Zdzislaw Beksinski, Salvador Dali, Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, Margo Selski, Andrea Kowch, Victor Safonkin and many others. All of these people inspire me to think deeper. Art in the past was very important because many people didn’t know how to read, were not educated. So art became a message that everyone could read. It wasn’t something straight forward. Maybe it was more like a feeling, something subconscious. Churches were built to look strong, powerful, closer to the skies so that people would feel safe inside it and closer to God. And this is only a very primitive example.
I have been listening to online talks/lectures about meaningful art and I was amazed by all of the ideas proposed there. One of then was about the Egyptian Pyramids. A square is a symbol of matter and a triangle is a symbol of spirituality. If you look at the pyramids from above (as it was built for the gods to see) they look as squares that are divided into triangles – matter and spirituality combined. Art was very close to religion and I’m not speaking just of Christianity, I am talking about human beliefs, mythology and even folk tales. A hidden meaning can be found there even without using the squares and triangles. There are certain numbers that have a deeper meaning than just a count of apples. 3 is the number of spirituality (in Christianity – the trinity of God), 4 is the number of matter (in Christianity – 4 evangelists). 7 is a 3+4 meaning the overlapping of spirit and matter (for example there are tales that tying 7 knots on a rope and burying it into the ground will stop your loved one’s soul from leaving the earth), 12 is 3×4 also a mixture of spirituality and matter (12 disciples of Christ, 12 months in a year).
A circle is also a very powerful figure showing the natural order of life, where beginning or ending is not important. It’s a cycle meaning that this how it was before you, this is how it is now and this is how it will be.
So this is some basic figures. Simple, but strong. It is amazing how people could feel it, feel the hard “math” like Fibonacci sequences and the Golden ratio, fractals when it takes us so long to learn it because no one is teaching us how to understand it anymore. It seems that we created an alternate way to understand our surroundings but forgetting that we are a part of it. And the “math” is everywhere. I even read an article that the golden ratio can be found in the uterus of a women in her most fertile years! (article can be found here)
And let’s not forget the symbols of male and female. Sky is considered to be the male and earth is the female. Rain helps the earth to grow life so rain is the act of fertilization. In Greek mythology, the first gods were Gaia and Uranus. Uranus was uncontrollable and he was sexually abusing Gaia whenever he wanted – a total wild male archetype. When Gaia grew tired of Uranus she asked her son Cronus (god of time!) to tame Uranus and when Uranus attacked Gaia again, Cronus cut off Uranus’ genitals and threw them to the sea. As this happened Aphrodite was born – the goddess of love. This shows that love cannot exist without control. This is the same symbol as pillars – holding the sky from falling on the earth and causing chaos.
So, now I’m standing here as a small insignificant person and thinking – how much can I understand? How much can I take from this? These are only few of the major symbols, but they can be used as a basis for other symbols to be built upon. And how can we understand it when we can’t stay even a few minutes without browsing on a smart phone?
There was an idea that being bored is necessary for people to get themselves thinking, creating ideas. But now we are stimulated all the time with TV, smart phones, internet. Now we cannot stand the presence of ourselves for too long and we can’t be bothered to think about our lives, to search for meaning. We’d rather “google” it than try to search for it in ourselves.
So the question is, does it matter, all the hidden meanings and all the spirituality when we get everything that is chewed up for us already?..Try to think about this amazing painting for instance, try to feel.
Tired but happy in my lonely confinement that starts to feel like freedom,