Art. Art is many things. It can be music, painting, photography, sculpture, fashion and so much more.. art is a part of who we are.
I have been lucky enough in my life to see a lot of beautiful and well-renowned art, but for a while, that didn't matter. However long I spent at a museum didn't enrich my life. It was just something you were supposed to do. Now, though, I'm beginning to understand art and what it brings to the world.
Art is made by people. People who are high on life. People who want to recreate the perfect moment and capture it forever. People who want you to feel what they feel. Art is not about being good or bad, whether or not it is expensive or critically acclaimed. No, art is about feelings.
As I am writing this, I'm sitting in the National Museum of Art in Washington D.C.
Next to me is a painting by Monet—one of his lesser works—and as it sits here it doesn't speak to me. That doesn't mean that the art is not noteworthy or beautiful, it just means that it's not the piece that speaks to me. His water lilies that are housed in Chicago spoke to me in a completely different way. When I saw them, I felt a spring day in Paris, the breeze blowing through the leaves, a quiet park and me, standing on a bridge looking over at the lilies.
Art, even by the same painter, speaks to people differently. So the art that makes you feel beautiful, incredible things—the way the artist intended—may not make someone else feel the same way. Art speaks to us all differently. The same piece can speak to us differently at different times. Art is there and we hear see and feel what we are open to.
Art can connect you to a time in your life. I'm looking at a painting of ancient Venice. It makes me smile and remember when as a ten-year-old, I sat in a speed boat looking up with my eyes closed soaking in the Venetian light.
Last week I went to the Smithsonian Portrait Museum (another art museum, I know). The one thing that had me giggling was that the first portrait I saw when I walked in was Tupac. Yes, the late rapper is featured as a person of national significance in a museum with portraits of presidents. Art doesn't conform to who should be important or to people who create conventional social change, art can be about anyone.
One of my favorite portraits was of the women who have served as Supreme Court Justices. They didn't look powerful in the painting, they just looked like a bunch of smart women who love their job. That's another thing, while art may seem like it turns people into something more than just a regular human, it doesn't. Looking into the face of George Washington in this museum I came to realize that he was just a guy everyone liked who helped, in his own way, change the world. There are so many individuals out there like that; some end up in museums, some don't, but they are all just people at the end of the day.
So, to all the people out there—find art that speaks to you. Look at that art, listen to it, and know that another person created this to share their experience with you.
Appreciate the art. Let it speak to you. Listen and learn.