There is an idiom in Japanese that goes “hana yori dango”, which roughly translates to “dumplings over flowers”. The saying is used as a descriptor of people who disregard beauty in this world in favor of practicality, the smell of flowers in favor of the taste of dumplings. This is a view shared by not a small portion of humanity, as art can’t make us efficient, turn profit, heat our houses in the winter, nor can it make our car run faster. This makes us wonder whether we even truly need art, or it is but a luxury of idleness.
The reason art is often frowned upon by a number of social groups and castes, is the fact that an uneducated individual has a difficult time understanding the concept behind some works. Which, to be fair, is no wonder at all – someone with no knowledge of Cubism will see nothing of substance, save some bizarre shapes. Current art sends a coded message to the viewers, and, often, we find that the work in question had no life-changing emotion or message behind it – and that’s just paintings. Poetry can also be no less cryptic in nature, leaving the idea open to interpretation, fights and insults esteemed academics hurl at each other.
Given the confusing nature of art, are we to deduce that it serves no practical purpose? Let us, just for a second, imagine a world without it. Can you do it? Why do you suppose it is so difficult? There is a secret we have to let you in on – art is everywhere. Let us go over some examples.
Architecture is an art form. That means that your very house, or building, is a product of it. The walls, the ceiling and the exterior were created not just to keep you safe from the elements, but, in many cases, to invoke feelings. Hotels look like palaces, reminding us of royalty and royal treatment, and museums often take the shape of ancient temples, bringing you back into the past by several millennia. Banks look professional due to the marble and glass, which gives of the impression of cold beauty.
Designers made the appearance of your favorite childhood heroes, the coolness of different cars, and web-designers know how to make your website stand out and generate more profit, simply by being more interesting than others.
Practicality is far from the only reason we need art in our lives. Art is the embodiment of creativity. Without art, there is no creativity. We cannot seriously argue that losing creativity would also lead to losing intelligence, but we can certainly point out that creativity is what makes us human to begin with. The amazing power of imagination, and the unyielding capacity to wonder, fear, agonize and enjoy life, along with a plethora of mediums to express this with is the very foundation of who we are. So, do we need art in our lives? Saying ‘yes’ is an understatement. This is a trick question, as art has been, and always will be, there.