Why Art?

I’M BACK. AND WITH GOOD REASON.

This is a very long rant in response to a question that I decided I couldn’t answer through a simple message. It would just take too long. The question was: why is art important?

I think art’s goal is, at the surface, entertainment. Maybe that’s not what you wanted to hear, but it’s true. We enjoy it for our own sake. Artists, both musicians and painters, dancers and actors, do their art because there are things they would like to see, and nobody knows what they would like to read or see or hear better than they do.

And that’s where I have to go a bit past the surface. I think if I get to the heart of why I make art, it gets slightly egotistical. I like to think that I can truly change people’s minds. Seriously, I do. I act like I can make society think about itself and its wrongs if I write it as it is, showing all the faults in grisly detail. Maybe I can. I don’t really know. I mean to say that it has happened before. As I recall, one of Picasso’s works influenced the rest of the world to see the horrors of what was going on down in Austria in WW2. I like to believe I can make people walk back into reality and think about what would happen if they kept living their lives as mundanely as they do. I’d like them to question everything. And they do.

You see, the world itself is art. Can you imagine a world without anything but the absolute essentials? Perhaps it would not exist, because a universe is not really necessary. Nothing is necessary. But from the unnecessary comes beauty, and that is art. We are art. Every human being and animal and everything in existence is artwork. The universe itself is naught but God himself throwing what was not necessary into the utter blackness and making light. Why? Because why not?

Art is the foundation of society. It does not exist without it. Art is something that every single society can understand. You can understand how someone who speaks another language and lives in a completely different place was feeling just by listening to a song. You don’t even have to understand the words even if it includes it. It is the ultimate and greatest form of communication.

Yes, art is entertaining. We are entertained by books, splashes of ink on paper, like the Hunger Games. But did you know that the Hunger Games, a fictional book, is banned in some countries? Why? Because of this: art is more than just entertainment. Art is inspiration. And those countries’ governments that ban it fear that it will inspire its citizens to rebel against them. And I’ll be damned if they aren’t right. Art is a scary thing that way.

Art is motivation. Have you ever heard a song that came on at just the right time? I have. I have friends who owe their continuing existence to a song that gave them the courage to keep plodding on in this life when it didn’t seem quite so beautiful and wonderful to do so. Art is so much more than entertainment. So much more.

Art helps us to think in ways we are just not used to thinking. As Valerie Strauss said in an article on this same subject:

 “Artistic creations are born through the solving of problems. How do I turn this clay into a sculpture? How do I portray a particular emotion through dance? How will my character react in this situation? Without even realizing it kids that participate in the arts are consistently being challenged to solve problems. All this practice problem solving develops children’s skills in reasoning and understanding. This will help develop important problem-solving skills necessary for success in any career.” 

That’s from the Washington Post article “Top Ten Skills Children Learn From The Arts”. I know that’s not properly cited, but this isn’t an essay.

It isn’t just for children. Art is for all. With art comes awareness. With art comes respect. With art comes understanding. With art comes an outlet for those who otherwise would not have one.

There’s a reason the arts are called visual communication. Art is expression. Without art, we would have no ultimate purpose, no higher calling. There’s more to art than just curricular needs, although it does help with school. It helps with problem solving and creativity and working with others. But it also helps us to grow spiritually and mentally. It helps us to breach gaps that otherwise could not be breached. There are things that cannot be said in monotone. There are some stories that must be on paper, some that must be sung, and some that must be plastered with paint onto a canvas.

There’s a bigger reason that all the religious books have metaphorical pieces to them. There’s a reason Christ spoke in parables. We need more than the physical to help us learn what we cannot see, taste or touch. We need art to help us understand emotion, religion, and thoughts.

There’s so much more I would like to say, honestly; so much more I feel that needs to be included. The problem is that art really is the icing on the cake. But it’s also the cake itself. It makes it more than just a nutritional supplement. It makes it so much less boring. Like, imagine if you had to just eat supplements all day long. You’d go insane. But what if they’re nice tasting, good to look at? Then there’s something more there.

Can I explain every single reason art is so awesome? No. But you may be the reason someone decides to live another day. We hold life in your hands with that gift. Nobody ever decided to avoid suicide another day due to a math problem. But, how about a song? How about for a painting or a theater play? Yes, they have avoided it for that. You can sway nations with some words and a few chords. You can change a king’s mind with some properly placed spray-paint. People have died for the way they put ink on a page. There’s a power in art that can’t be denied, even if we can’t always explain why.

So art is powerful. That is my point. And don’t let anyone take that power away from you.

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Music in Ink Form

So I was challenged for the fourth day of Blogging 101 to make a post that adds some unfamiliar element to the blog while still reaching the main audience. I’ve come up with an idea, and here it goes.

We’re talking about music in fantasy.

If you know Lord of the Rings and Narnia, you know that the music score behind the film is one of the most important parts of the film. This is not on accident, especially not with Lord of the Rings. Think about it.

The song itself has an emotional tinge to it. You probably have feelings of sadness listening even if you haven’t seen the movie. The lyrics and voice just work that way. But if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, you can’t help but to have intense feelings suddenly be thrust upon you. The buildup to this scene just adds to the feels. So many feels…

Let’s go on to Narnia.

Did you really need them speaking or the words in the title to know what scene this was? Probably not. Why? Because FEELS, that’s why! Your emotion is so tied to a scene that you automatically remember the scene without seeing it. But why is it so spellbinding? Because music is a story without words. Like all stories, it has a beginning, a lead-up, a climax and an ending. This is why I suggest listening to instrumental music while writing. Like a rhythm, words must flow smoothly. Like a beat, your plot must build in intensity. And like all songs, your characters must change from what they were in the beginning. Thinking of your writing as a form of music tends to help me write, and maybe it’ll help you, too.

As Ashlin of the Dark Veil saga, coming 2016, says, “Everything is moving.” So it must always be.

Now, for my devoted Facebook fans who read this whole thing waiting for a piece of Dark Soldier info, here it is. We are currently working on getting the man who created this song below to write us a piece for the Dark Soldier book trailer. We’re pretty sure it’s going to be legendary.

The Music Man

Talent comes from the most unusual of places. As it turns out, one of the actors for the book trailer is also a great pianist. This is some of his work:

What do you think? Should we hire him to do the music as well as act? I think so. Maybe a switch to a minor key, but who knows. Anyway, the point is that people are far more than meets the eye.

Mood Music

Music is a huge part of my life. I’ve been using it a lot to get me through writing. The simple fact is that we writers aren’t always excited to write, even if we really enjoy the story. I really love my story too, but I’m not different in this whole scenario. I still need some help. So what do I do to keep myself motivated?

Before Writing
   A good few songs of European folk music and recently, bagpipes. All the bagpipes.

During Writing (Battle Scene)
   Hard Rock or Metal – typically Thousand Foot Krutch, Decyfer Down, Slipknot, Demon Hunter

During Writing (Romantic Scene)
   Smooth Jazz. Kenny G if I am truly, truly desperate.

During Writing (Political Scene)
   An epic Celtic music mix off YouTube. It just feels better while writing battle plans with this in the background.

During Writing (Emotional Scene)
   Typically something from Big O or Cowboy Bepop with some RainyMood in the background. Rain makes everything better.

During Writing (Humorous Scene)
   Actually, I rarely have any music going at these points. It just… happens.

Does anyone else need music while writing? If so, what kind of music do you typically play? Let me know in the comments section!

Musical Madness, Magnificence and Manbeards

For those interested, the new writing tips video on mythology making is now finished. It’s been up since about a week ago. *cue annoying Vine music*

But for those interested in the next one, or music of any sort (and since you clicked this link you seem to be), I will be putting some musical awesomeness into the next video blog, coming Tuesday, or by the time this blog is finished writing, today. This awesomeness is due to the ocarina that I finally get after a year and a half of not having one. What is the ocarina, you might ask? It’s the best instrument ever! And I will explain why, as of right now.

There is more to the ocarina than its short rise to popularity due to Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In fact, long before it made its way into geek culture, it was a four-holed Aztec wind instrument. It’s basically shaped like a potato with a stem to breath into, with a variety of holes depending on the style.

This is no ordinary potato. This is, advanced potato.
This is no ordinary potato. This is, advanced potato.

Plus, it sounds totally awesome, as shown by the video in the link. And I used to be pretty good with it, at least according to everyone that listened to it. So I’ll take their word for it.

Yessir, there isn’t much things that are more hipster than traveling with a tiny aztec instrument in skinny jeans and a sweater. In case you’re wondering, I used to do that often. And now I have a beard to add to the hipsterness. Now if I could only find a beanie, I could be SuperHipsterMan. I write this all on a Macbook Air. I have severe problems, people.

That is it for this round of randomness. Let me know what YOUR favorite instruments are, or if you play an instrument! Adios, Au revoir, and God bless!