We need art, especially painting to survive in the tough world. Without art and creative thinking, there would be no laughter, no vision, no imagination, and no stories.
Archaeologists believe they have discovered the world's oldest-known representational artwork: three wild pigs painted deep in a limestone cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi at least 45,500 years ago. (below image)
This fact shows that from a very long time ago, human beings were struggling to survive day by day while drawing pictures at the same time. In other words, painting was also their survival tool.
Among the articles on survival and art that I read on the Internet in the past, the following article impressed me.
There is no denying the power of art, its ability to further our understanding of the world. But if art enriches our lives it is mainly because it is a fantastic survival system, one that allows us to explore new survival structures and then disseminate them to the entire species through emotional means
Art makes people optimistic about their future. Art can be used to help spread a message of inspiration, making people achieve great things in life. Art can be a form of communication between people, to focus on common issues for the betterment of humankind. Inspirational painting is the best form of creative art.
How can we do the artistic activities necessary for survival and to maintain, discover, and cultivate humanity in parallel with our daily lives?
To know this, we must first find a solution to some prejudices about artistic activity.
1. Do artists necessarily need a good studio? Does a good art space guarantee better work?
The answer to this can be easily found by looking back at the lives of artists in the past or the lives of artists around them. As for the Austrian visual artist, Friedrich Hudertwasser, always said that his studio is everywhere. Friedrich Stowasser (15 December 1928 – 19 February 2000), better known by his pseudonym Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, was an Austrian visual artist and architect who also worked in the field of environmental protection.
So he didn't have his own atelier and didn't even use an easel, so he always put all the drawings on the floor and painted them. In general, an artist is drawn to a room full of works, a large easel in the middle, a large desk to spread painting tools, and a sofa to sit and relax.
But even without such a fancy space, any place you stay can be your studio. I am very sorry that I found out about this so late. Because of my obsession with places, I couldn't enjoy the happiness and joy of art that I should have enjoyed freely. If you become too obsessed with a place and go all-in, your confidence and passion in your work and the world will decrease to that extent. You will get frustrated or spend time in the wrong place every day thinking about preparing the place. Start at your place right now!
2. Do I have to go to art school to be a great artist? Or do you need related certifications?
The answer to this part was solved in 2011, when I first made my debut as a painting. The answer is that it is an option, not a requirement. Realistically, graduating from art school may make it easier for you to make a living in art. You can survive the competition more easily with a degree or certificate, rather than the life of an artist who has to survive by selling only one's own work. And if you keep walking through the academic field, you can earn a living just by teaching aspiring artists.
This is an amazing privilege that comes to you regardless of whether you are an artist or not. Because there is always a cartel in the academic field. If you have the skills and experience, but don't have a certificate or degree, it becomes difficult to teach students in college or graduate school. However, I believe this too will change someday. Because the world is really moving fast like the current of a flood. In fact, many aspiring artists always have a big question mark about art education in their hearts.
For example, in a time when inflation, high oil prices, and economic crisis are on the rise like these days, we can feel skeptical about attending art college paying a huge amount of tuition that cannot be easily paid off within a few years even if they become an artist. After graduating like this, if there is a clear and visible path, it may be worth it. However, statistics (by Artfact.net) show that 78% of their top 50 living artists have no MFA (Master of Fine Arts) degree. A self-taught artist is not relying on an art school to provide the information and practice needed to become an artist. It means that after graduating from art school, only a few percent of students are given the title of so-called professional artists, and can make a living through art activities alone.
If so, is there any need to go down that road on the premise that it is always necessary? Rather, it may be better to believe in your own abilities and senses. I am always open minded about this. I didn't go to art school, but for 10 years, while exhibiting, selling, and teaching, what I always heard was about whether or not I graduated from art school.
That's why sometimes I think, "I'm not an art graduate" should be engraved on a T-shirt and go. Paradoxically, as you draw, you realize how foolish it is to waste your time arguing and reacting to these things. It would be better to draw at least one more picture at that time.
3. Do you need good materials to paint? If I paint a picture with expensive paints and flaming it with a gilded frame, will my paintings sell more easily?
The answer to this is a project I'm working on right now, painting with watercolor paints for $1. I expect many artists to join me. Because this can be an alternative to lowering the barriers to another art. Good art materials, great tutors, fancy venues, and perfect diplomas. If these are the basics and essentials of art, then you should probably shut down all the works in art galleries around the world right now. Because true art is about touching people's hearts, sharing beauty, and looking at a more meaningful world together.
If visible conditions determine art, then those who do art for a pure purpose must give up their path before they even know what art is. Art and painting should be enjoyed only by privileges, and in poor countries, poor people will not be able to even get close to painting. This is truly a tragedy.
Returning to the previous content for a moment, what qualifications did the ancients of the cave paintings of a pig 45400 years ago found on an Indonesian island have to do because they had good materials, and had a wonderful studio to paint them? If such things are essential, all the appearances of civilization that have been passed down to us from the past will disappear. Because granting qualifications and conditions in itself takes away a lot of creativity and freedom.
In art, creativity and freedom in the act of painting are like life. Without this spirit, the picture is just a copy. The craving for creativity and freedom has always been with mankind since the beginning of time. And that spirit is what art seeks.
As an artist, I have sometimes envied the primitive people who painted ancient murals. This is because I drew what I wanted to draw freely without any rules, social restrictions, or prejudice. In conclusion, art should not even care about the economic realm.
I made my debut with a bewildered heart and started writing down the questions, concerns, and directions I had while drawing and painting for the past 10 years. When I draw and exhibit, I meet a lot of people. In particular, I want to talk about the hidden masters I always talk about and their works. As I look at the lives of people and the stories and works of painters, I feel that the anxiety, dissatisfaction and worries I once had for myself are gradually disappearing and something is becoming clearer.
I am grateful for sharing these concerns and stories in this space.
Myungja Anna Koh