On Why Art Matters
An exploration into the deeper reasons for the creation of VANDOCUMENT
What is it?
It’s Vancouver’s arts & culture documentation publication. It focuses on Vancouver’s local artists, organizers, studios, and festivals. It’s run & operated & produced by a passionate group of people who believe that Vancouver’s local talent deserves dedicated coverage and promotion.
Now this is all fine.
But another WHY? Why does our local talent deserve this attention?
This is a subject very dear to me.
Here are my thoughts.
If any of this brings up feelings/comments/rebuttals, please comment here, email me ash(at)vandocument(dot)com or call me 778.881.8932
Each point builds on the last…
- Creativity and expression breathe life into my bones and supply me with more energy than anything else does.
- This life energy lacks the emotional downside of alcohol or drugs. It is positive. It is limitless.
- This positive energy of art has saved me from confusion, depression, anger, and other not-so-awesome states more times than I can count. I’ve had many people echo the same.
- Art has the capability to save me from not-so-awesome states because it reminds me that I am not alone. Music, performance, film, etc – it shows me a world larger than my own and by doing so, it grounds me, calms me (or invigorates me, see #1)
- This grounding, calming, invigorating power of art is inherently community-building. It gives us a sense of being HERE, of being on this earth. Whether we know the people around us or not, whether we are in a tiny village or a massive metropolis, we are not alone.
- There are multiple ways in which art is community-building & gives us a sense of belonging. Here is one detailed way that I believe wholeheartedly and feel is too often overlooked:
When you witness art (listen to music, watch a film, view a dance, etc), no matter if you “like” the art or not, you are witnessing what people have spent a lot of time and energy on. Their art is their expression of what matters to them. They are sharing parts of themselves, of their very life(!) with the public.
In other words, you are seeing “into” other people’s lives, hearts, and souls. All those crazy thoughts you have? All those confused questions you deal with? Don’t worry, their art is saying: “You are not alone. We ALL deal with seemingly nutso fucked up shit all the time. But it’s okay. So do we. This just means you are human.”
Of course, not all art is a delving into the insanity of humanity. Some art is simply beautiful. But even the expression of beauty does not always come from a simple place.
I believe that many more of us could have more enjoyable, less difficult, less self-destructive lives if we became involved in the arts. Whether this means creating art, attending art, promoting art, in other ways, or all of the above, by becoming more involved in the arts, we will find other people who are just like us: Full of questions. Full of uncertainty. Just trying to do our best to figure our world and ourselves out.
But instead of going it alone, the arts & the community we bind with through the arts, help us accept and encourage us to explore these questions and struggles. It’s a beautiful and supportive thing.
Support art. Love yourself. Connect with the people around you.
Founder of VANDOCUMENT. Photographer, illustrator, lover and supporter of arts & culture.