What Influences Art?

Nancy B. Alston

Usually words “Influence” and “art” are connected in a sentence like “how art influences your life,” but here we are going to speak about what influences art. Why an artwork is “warts and all,” what made it itself, and the reasons a particular piece of artwork might have its shape, colors, theme and, of course, underlying idea.

Generally, for consumers of art, art is a part of our life. We love art because it`s beautiful, because it`s our history, it`s a door to a different world, a world of our imagination and thoughts. But for artist his artwork is a part of him, of his life, it is his perception of some events around him; it is his way to show us history.

So any artwork is a result of many factors that influenced the artist. The list of these factors is endless. We are going to talk about what I consider to be the top 3.

The #1 is politics, because politics shows the interest of the society, its needs and desires. Politics includes not only the politic of government, but also economics and culture, and all the major events in the world. Plato said that politics is a royal art of managing all other kinds of art. Art, in its direct meaning, is a really powerful instrument of influence, another type of propaganda. And artists use it in order to show their position and set us thinking.

The #2 is natural phenomenon. Especially now when the amount of environmental art movements is growing rapidly, we can see the influence of this factor, we can see the artists’ desire to attract our attention to natural problems.

The #3 is technology. In comparison with the factors listed above it may sound insignificant, but it`s not. Now is an age of progress, the age of technology. Technology changes us, changes our world and it is one of the major factors that influence politics and natural phenomenon. In addition technology gives to artist new possibilities that result in new art movements and new previously unseen artworks. This is true even when the technology in question is a new way to mix paints, or a newly developed painting tool.

Every person is a member of society and artists are no exception, even if they sometimes prefer to remain on the sidelines. Yes, they are making their works because they cannot not to do it, but a fundamental aspect of the process comes from their presence in and relationships within the society. It means that #4 factor must be the artist`s life. His own world: his friends and love, his interests, his childhood, his place of living and so forth.

Art shows history, but what is more important, it shows us a perception of history. And we should remember that an artwork it not just a beautiful thing, but it has a message, and we need to discover its sense.

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